Wild for Birds

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Historically birds have always had a place in homes.  They add beauty and charm whether in the form of a pet bird, framed prints from the Audubon collection, bronze or porcelain figurines, birds depicted in fabrics and wallpaper, or neighborhood birds enjoying a meal at a bird feeder in your backyard.

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

I was recently contacted by Audubon Park with a kind offer to provide me with a bird feeder and special seed to attract most varieties of birds in our neighborhood.  An instruction book and journal was included.  {Thank you, Audubon ParkYou may remember our foray into feeding birds from my posts HERE and HERE.

Garden, Home and Party: Bird feeder

I can share with you that it has been a relaxing and enjoyable experience and we have marveled at the visits by some of the most colorful birds, most we had no idea were in our neighborhood.  Should you wish to embark on this peaceful pass time, and with winter fast approaching it’s a great time to feed birds, Audubon Park not only provides these Tips for feeding birds but their site has information on where to buy their premium food and more:

  1. Know your local birds. [We happen to have a Field Guide to California birds].
  2. Feed them their favorite food
  3. Make them feel at home with trees, shrubs, flowers and a bird house
  4. Give them bath and drinking water
  5. Keep them safe: Make sure your seed, suet or nectar is made-in-the-USA and place feeders away from windows and predators

Because I can’t pass up an opportunity to showcase a pretty room, here are some additional ways birds find their way into our hearts and homes.

A chandelier ready for autumn, complete with a pair of faux American Crow perched on attached moss-laden branches…

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

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Love this wallpaper with birds in flight…

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

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Hotel Van Zandt, Austin, Texas displays birds made from old LP vinyl records…

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

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a favorite room by the talented Holly Mathis, dressed for Christmas, features some wonderful Audubon prints…

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

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Love the needlework peacocks in this bedroom…

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

How sweet is this flamingo wallpaper for a baby girl’s room?…

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

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Classic beauty in green and white…

Garden, Home and Party: Audubon Park

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this visit to the world of our feathered friends.  I’ve definitely had fun bird watching from our kitchen window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn flora in the home

Good morning, my friends!  So much for getting back to regular posting, right?!

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

I am an avid fan of fresh flowers and plants in my house year round.  I’ve used branches from shrubs and trees in the yard, and flowers from the market for our home most of my married life.  I also have several living plants in my home.  Ivy topiary, Peace Lily ‘spathiphyllum’ and a large pothos live in various rooms of the house.  When Christmas rolls around I’m happy to use faux garland, embellished with live cedar and pine.

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn flora

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

So it was with some hesitancy that I returned the kind email I received from Silk Plants Direct.  They were offering me a shopping visit of their site, where they would ship a product of my choice (with a generous pricing limit) for my honest review.  Still doubtful, I visited the link and found many of their plants to look very believable.  The item I selected reminds me of bittersweet, something that is sold live per stem by florists this time of year in our area.  I’ve always loved the look of bittersweet in autumn arrangements and wreaths, but couldn’t always find fresh stems.

I emailed my contact with Silk Plants Direct and was thrilled with the speedy delivery and the quality of the stems.  The flowers filled the large porcelain blue and white vases and finished the mantle decor for the season for me.  Thank you Silk Plants Direct!

Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

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Garden, Home and Party: Autumn Flora

Silk Plants Direct, a Silk flowers and plants retailer, has a user-friendly site and provides a column on their home page that allows shoppers to narrow their search by topics such as category, size, price, color, variety and season.

If you’re a die hard fan of real live plants and flowers, as I consider myself to be, you may be in for a surprise. I urge you to take a look at Silk Plants Direct.

Disclosure:  I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The honest opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

 

Nailed it!

As I mentioned earlier, I recently had our very tired, very sad red and white buffalo check sofa reupholstered. I’ve been using a more neutral palate wherever possible.  I have read it will calm me, so far, not so much.🙂  You can take the Type A personality out of the chaos, but you can’t take the chaos out of the Type A.

We decided to add oil rubbed bronze nail heads to the arms this time  (in the picture they look brass, but in person they are definitely oil rubbed bronze in color). I like the extra detailing on the sofa and began to notice how many pieces of furniture in my ‘saved’ furniture file have nailheads.  {Sorry about the dog dishes in the kitchen, missed that in my viewfinder while taking this picture}

Garden, Home and Party: Nailed it

The New Jersey Star Ledger explained that this is an enduring element of furniture design…

The decorative use of nailheads on furniture is believed to have begun in 17th century France with the ornately carved wooden seating of the Louis XIII period. During this time when the most luxurious furnishings were coveted, craftsmen would use decorative nails to secure fine upholstery such as velvet, brocade, tapestries or leather.

I want to share some of my recent, and not so recent, furniture with nailheads finds…

Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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I love the nailheads on these chairs, as well as the ikat fabric.

Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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Aren’t these beds wonderful?  Perfect for a room for adolescent teens or visiting guests. {also, isn’t this wallpaper great?}

Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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Garden, Home and Party: Nailheads on furniture

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Garden, Home and Party: Nail heads

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This pretty chair is covered in Sebastian Tattersall in Sky, a part of the new SMW Home textile collection.

Garden, Home and Party: nailheads on furniture

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Garden, Home and Party: nailheads on furntire

What are your thoughts?  Do you like nailheads or could you skip them?

Karen

 

Matching paint – trim and walls

Hi there!  Happy Wednesday.

There is a relatively recent trend to paint walls and trim the same color.  I’ve seen some rooms done this way that are very appealing.  I confess, I’m old school and appreciate a distinction, no matter how subtle, between the two.

Garden, Home and Party: Paint

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Houzz gave the trend press in early 2013, with a quote from architect Treff LaFleche who states  that matching trim and walls “emphasize the functional purpose of architectural trim and creates a more understated and contemporary composition.” I agree, but my traditional leanings probably balk at the “contemporary” reference.

Garden, Home and Party: paint

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There is something modern and soothing about trim painted the exact same color as the walls. It creates a seamless look and works well if you plan to leave your walls bare or cover them with a thousand pieces of art.  -Houzz

Garden, Home and Party: paint

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Garden, Home and Party: paint

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Garden, Home and Party: paint

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Garden, Home and Party: paint

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This butler’s pantry is striking—slate walls, cupboard fronts and trim.

Garden, Home and Party: trim and paint

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The wood beadboard, crown moulding, window trim, and casing, match but the toile breaks up what could be too much of any one color.  A lively example of contrast between wall and trim.

Garden, Home and Party: paint

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All white kitchens are always beautiful to me.  Maybe the variance found in the counter, the stainless steel appliances, and the tile backsplash over the range give it the added pop of contrast.

Garden, Home and Party: paint

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Garden, Home and Party: paint

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Garden, Home and Party: paint

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What do you think?  Would you paint the trim and walls the same color?

Karen

 

Books, the subtle accessory in a room

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hello my friends, happy wednesday!

If you’ve visited me throughout the years you may have picked up on the fact that I love libraries.  Weather public, university or home libraries, they all hold equal interest for me. [HERE, HERE, and HERE] I love books and the warmth they give to a room.

This post was inspired by a post in late spring by my friend, Vanessa, of Reviving Charm. She shared information of a London based company known as Ultimate Library.  They will curate and assemble an entire library for you, whether it be a residential or commercial project. To read more about how this works and some of the locations where they have done this service visit HERE.

Garden, Home and Party: books, accessories

Today I’d like to talk about the role of books as an accessory.  I realize that anytime a book is placed in a stack on a coffee table it could be considered an adornment, as well as something to read, but it seems to me books have advanced to a more prominent place in a room today.

Beribboned antique books are used alongside an assortment of other tabletop antiques.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

These beauties make such a statement in this bookcase.  Wouldn’t you love to open one {carefully} and read it, look for the date?

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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This desk vignette is beautiful and the books definitely play a role.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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I’ve always loved a library table.  Wish I had room for one.  This book display hits all of my hot buttons. Art work, a vintage pocket watch, the tray and a scented candle, and the still life effect of it all by adding the bowl of apples, perfection.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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I’m certain you’ve seen this trend in displaying books.  I guess you either hate it or love it.  I confess it appeals to me and I’ve done a version of it in my own bookcase with my design books.  Where do you stand on the color coordinated books topic?

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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…and what about removing the jackets.  Again, I’m sure there are those that feel it is sacrilege and others, like me, that actually like the look of the books better without their jackets than with!

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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I really like the way we all use books to elevate items such as this orchid and the smaller accessory on the chest when decorating.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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Blue and white beauty with books and other wonderful items of interest.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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I also like color coordinated books in a vignette.  Intentionally placing a stack of green books with the blue, white and green set-up just makes it all the prettier in my view.

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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The collection of magnifying glasses, along with the leather books is divine!

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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This space has a library feel to it.  The vintage prints, marble bust and books!

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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I love this narrow opening in such a formal setting, filled to the top with vintage books!

Garden, Home and Party: accessories; books

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Tell me, do you decorate with books?

♥ Karen

 

Walls with a “Wow” Factor

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Hi friends, happy Wednesday!

Today I’d like to talk about walls.  Whether you live in an apartment or a house, you have walls.  Painted walls can be wonderful, and comparatively economical, a benefit I always appreciate.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

They can also add drama to a room.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

I’ve had walls on my mind lately since I’m seeing lots more wallpaper ideas online providing options for texture and color.  You know how tempting a concept, like wallpaper, can become when you see a gorgeous room!

Wallpaper today is manufactured in so many patterns, including some with great texture. I’m happy wallpaper is back in the design spotlight.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

This textured wallpaper [below] (grasscloth?) gives depth to the wall while providing a similar contrast to the trim, as paint would.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Custom paneling, whether more formal or informal, can be the wow factor for any room.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

The knotty pine tongue in groove in the bedroom below is ideal for the room’s decor and the pitch of the ceiling.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Reclaimed wood, whether man made or actually aged, adds character.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Then there’s the unexpected.  The walls in this room [below] convince me it could be a lodge in England as easily as America. Love this room!

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

The talented Amy Meier brought warmth to this kitchen with the addition of brick on the wall.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Stone walls are a favorite of mine, maybe because they are not often seen unless the home is custom. A custom home isn’t in my immediate future, but I love the look.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

This stone wall with the farm apron sink set in an antique cupboard gives the room a historic feel.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

The materials available to those building a custom home can create authenticity in any room.

Using aged, or distressed beams, stone on the wall and floor gives me the feel of an old farmhouse kitchen even though this may be a newer home.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Actual age is hard to fake.  That’s a good thing for some of us—but we’re talking about homes.  Oh to live in an old house in Europe!

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

If these walls could talk.  My imagination runs away with me when I’m in a room such as this.

Garden, Home and Party: Walls

Living in a tract house, our walls in most rooms are painted and we have beadboard in a couple of the rooms.  No stone walls in our little cottage.  I’ll have to get my stone wall fix from the beautiful homes I find online.🙂

♥ Karen

 

End of summer

I’m back and ready to pick up where we left off—where was that, exactly?  Happy Wednesday!  Summer is not quite finished yet.  The summer weather here in SoCal has been manageable overall.  We typically get really hot in September, just when I start to think about cool weather, fires in the fireplace and turtleneck sweaters!

Labor Day marks the ceremonial end of summer, but there are still a good few weeks to enjoy the season, even after the three-day weekend ends and schools begin their calendar year. This year, the last day of summer is officially on Sept. 22.

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

As I mentioned on National Ice Cream Day (third Sunday in July), I’ve worked hard on relaxing during my off hours.  I know it’s weird to say I have to work hard to relax, but it’s the truth.  As my mother used to say, “Karen, sit still!”

This is what I’ve been up to…

I did a lot of gardening, made plenty of time for entertaining friends and family and actually relaxed a little more than usual.

I shared the patio garden reveal back in March.  I wanted to update you with it’s progress.

March 30, 2016: Newly planted patio garden

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

June 22, 2016:  My, how you’ve grown!

The heliotrope and Polygala ‘petite butterfly’ have filled in nicely.  Yes, I share the garden with a variety of caterpillars who have been munching on the leaves of the heliotrope as you can see on the leaves in this picture.  The delphinium are getting ready to bloom for the second time and the iceberg roses are photo bombing this image (in the background). They’re such show offs.  ;-)

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

About the time I feel as if maybe I’m pretty good at gardening I try my hand at planting a few tomato plants and this happens.  Gardening can keep you humble with the frequent occasional failure.

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

I don’t usually plant edibles, except for a few herbs.  I have only one spot in the yard that gets “full sun”.  So this year I planted 3 small tomato plants in the large clay pot (above-right), in the sunniest location we have.  Did I over water?  Possibly.  The leaves started turning yellow and then shriveling up.  Experts on growing tomatoes [in blogland] weigh in, please.  I’d love to be able to grow a tomato in this planter.

Here are the other tomato plants, they seem to be surviving.  They are in the ground. Wish me luck.  We’ve already seen evidence of a critter taking the green tomatoes off the vine and sampling them!  {Note to self: This is why I buy my produce at the market} 🙂

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

One of our close friend’s had a milestone birthday and we hosted a small dinner party for him.  It was very fun and since he’s the first to hit this “milestone” birthday, we teased him unmercifully about age!

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

I used the Portmerion Botanic Garden dishes, my wooden handled flatware, and my green and white plaid napkins for the summer party.

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

The handsome guy with the apron is our guest of honor.  We found the apron HERE. It’s a fun gift for a guy that enjoys grilling!

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

Recipe and table settings for summer entertaining.

We logged in some wonderful family time, complete with our Austin son and family.  Seeing the cousins enjoy themselves while the “adult kids” caught up warmed my heart beyond measure.  Icing on the cake!  Olivia, our 5 years old granddaughter marching and singing, which tickled Fae our 1 1/2 year old! {bottom picture: Fae at our local park—playing at the “cafe”}

Garden, Home and Party - Summer 2016

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

We celebrated with long time friends (almost family) at the wedding of their oldest daughter in a spot that is so swoon worthy—add a romantic wedding and I’m a puddle of warmth and emotions.

Congratulations to the wonderful couple and best wishes to our dear friends, Gretchen and Stu!

Garden, Home and Party - Summer 2016

Garden, Home and Party , Crystal Cove

I read a few books and by far, my favorite was Eligible: A Modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld.  It was a fun read that stayed mostly true to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Garden, Home and Party: Summer's End

This pretty much sums up summer.  My day job is great and I enjoy the challenges and the camaraderie it provides. What have you been up to?

Karen♥

 

National Ice Cream Day

Hi Friends, Happy Summer!

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

{When Olivia comes for a visit in August, we’ll be headed to the beach at least once}

I’ve been enjoying a relaxing summer so far, how about you? When I’m not working at my day job I’m spending time in the garden (I’ll have to provide a post on some of my successes, and failures, on that score), entertaining via backyard BBQ’s, and reading a few good books.

Today is National Ice Cream Day and I couldn’t let it pass without sharing a few images of summer fun and ice cream.  They truly go hand in hand, don’t they?

Garden, Home and Party: national ice cream day

For obvious reasons I try not to eat ice cream everyday, but when I have an excuse [it’s hot and only ice cream will cool me down; we need a dessert for our back yard BBQ; I’m on vacation so calories don’t count, or it’s the weekend] I like to enjoy a scoop of ice cream in a bowl or prepare an ice cream cake for dessert for a summer dinner party.  I make it a health food by throwing on a few berries!🙂

Summer activities for Mr. B and me might include a Duffy boat excursion.  There is a group of us that chip in, not only for rental fees, but to provide easy appetizers and a bottle or two of wine. This is one of my favorite summertime activities.  Unfortunately, no ice cream can be included since there’s no way to keep it frozen.

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

This recipe from Southern Living looked too delicious to pass up.  Find the printable recipe HERE This recipe is one I plan on trying for our upcoming backyard BBQ.

Garden, Home and Party national ice cream day

Garden, Home and Party, National ice cream day

During the summer months, ice cream seems to be the ideal treat no matter what form you prefer. I love the idea of individual desserts and this sundae in a pastry shell with freshly made blueberry sauce looks scrumptious.

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

Ice cream sandwiches from Williams Sonoma sound like they would be easy to make and oh, so delicious!

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

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These little ice cream cups look delicious and healthy topped with blueberries.

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

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Pioneer Woman’s Ice Cream Pie with Easy Caramel Sauce looks like something I’d make year round.

Garden, Home and Party: National Ice Cream Day

Now I’m hungry for ice cream!

Garden, Home and Party: National ice cream day

I hope your summer has been filled with more than your usual share of fun and ice cream!  I’m planning to be back to blogging weekly in early September, I hope you’ll stop by!

 

Fathers and Father’s Day

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Hi there, happy Wednesday!

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

My own father passed some time ago, but I’ve been blessed with a sweet husband that is a wonderful father to our two sons.  In addition, both sons are happily married and each a father to a little girl. It’s been fun buying for girls!🙂

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Mr. B with the boys at various ages and various events.

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Now we delight in observing our kids with their kids…

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Kyle (firstborn) with our granddaughter Olivia.

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Kevin (younger son) with granddaughter Fae…(below is Fae now 1 1/2 years old)

Garden, Home and Party: father's day

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

They shine at participating in these girl’s lives and at their ability to make them smile!

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

Garden, Home and Party: Father's Day

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY TO ALL!  ENJOY THE DAY!

I HOPE TO BE BACK TO BLOGGING BY SUMMER’S END, I NEED TO RECHARGE THE CREATIVE BATTERY PACK. ♥ KAREN

 

Library week

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Okay, so library week was actually April 10 – 16th but I have been about a month behind since this year began.  Anyway, I love libraries and look for any excuse to share my favorite images of libraries, both great and small.

Home libraries, or bookcases to many, bring such warmth and interest to any room.

Garden, Home and Party: Library

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Garden, Home and Party: Library

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Garden, Home and Party: Library

{St. John’s College, Cambridge England}

Garden, Home and Party: Library

A terrestrial globe in the Study at Bateman’s, East Sussex. Made by Philips. Ebony and Metal. Bateman’s was the home of the writer Rudyard Kipling from 1902 to 1936.

A staircase library seems like such a great use of wall space.

Garden, Home and Party: Library

Garden, Home and Party: Library

{Harvard University Library}

The Hoose Library of Philosophy, USC (University of Southern California) is one of the prettiest libraries I’ve ever seen in person. [below]

Garden, Home and Library: Library

Garden, Home and Party: Library

{University of Oxford Library, England}

Garden, Home and Party: Library

Do you have a favorite library?  ♥ Karen