Always stop to smell the roses! What is you favorite scent?

Filed Under: Life, Tips - Kim Levell

Always stop to smell the roses! What is you favorite scent?

Sheer Bliss

It never seems hard to come a upon a small rose garden when walking thru many parks in the US. I challenge you next time to stop and smell the roses. I like to make it a game almost smelling each one, finding the scented roses, then proclaiming my favorite. It’s really a fun idea for all involved. Doesn’t everyone enjoy a beautiful fragrant rose?

R.K. Witherspoon

The Sheer Bliss and RK WItherspoon passed my sniff test. They were both fresh and fragrant! I enjoy more citrus like scents.

 Make another game up by simply picking your favorite by beauty too!


Need I say more…

Why not consider the dry dead foliage of plants as architectural beauty in the winter?

Filed Under: Art, How To, Tips, Travel - Kim Levell



Why not consider the dry dead foliage of plants as architectural beauty in the winter?

Fall Garden North Carolina Arboretum


Just because the fall has come and winter is either already here for you personally or just around the corner the garden is still something to be considered and acknowledged as something beautiful. Dried landscape material can be tied back like an artistic creation of architectural art in the garden. These photos were taken at the North Carolina Arboretum in Ashville where the beauty of fall splashes against the deep green background of Carolina evergreens.

The North Carolina Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum

These grasses and hydrangea would even be pretty covered in a light blanket of snow.

Dried Hygrangea

The Carolina Arboretum Dried Hydangea

Tip: A nice balance of grasses against a back drop of evergreen looks great in every season.

North Carolina Arboretum:



A Southern Season: A grocery store that feels more like a fine department store. I loved the Thanksgiving pumpkin mousse!

Filed Under: Tips, Travel - Kim Levell

A Southern Season: A grocery store that feels more like a fine department store. I loved the pumpkin mousse!

*See link at bottom of page

A Southern Season: Chapel Hill North Carolina

I’m a good food junkie! Couple that with a fondness for shopping and you have the perfect storm at A Southern Season. Since I have been visiting North Carolina I make this a routine stop for tea in the am. They have an incredible selection of tea, know just how long to brew it, and make great blends. I like to get my cup of tea then stroll the isles and see what’s on the shelves. There is an incredible selection of just about anything culinary you can think of from edible to the well made pots, pans, and utensils you might need to cook up all the fabulous ingredients. On this particular day I was at the store it was Thanksgiving tasting day. Yum-mee! I let it all go on Thanksgiving and this year will be no exception. My usual favorite desert is a little chocolate cake from a company called Gateau in St. Petersburg Florida. It’s made gluten free with the finest organic fair trade ingredients. This year I will be topping it off with a little Pumpkin Mousse.

Here is how you make it: Pumkin Mousse Recipe

1 pint whipped cream

fold 1/2 can organic pumpkin puree ( can sub for sweet potato puree)

1 tsp all-spice

1/4 cup maple syrup

whip up the cream and fold i the rest top on your favorite dessert. This is heaven!

A Southern Season

A Southern Season: gourmet grocery store in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Of course besides the great tea…my favorite, the floral section. Great ideas, great orchids, and great over all selection!

A Southern Season floral department

A Southern Season floral department

This is a great place to order and ship a holiday gift basket as well. Just check out the site and you will see….Happy Thanksgiving! 

Under design: Contemporary Meets Mediteranean all under Screen

Filed Under: Homes in progress - Kim Levell

Under design: Contemporary Meets Mediteranean all under Screen

Exterior Outdoor Design Project by Kim Levell

Exterior Outdoor Design Project by Kim Levell


This isn’t exactly how it’s going to look although it will be ten times cooler! So far I have completed demo on entire back yard. We have permits to move forward and should be building at full speed by next week. Oh wait, that’s Thanksgiving! Argh…..”half steam ahead!”


Harbor View House: This client wanted a bug and leaf free environment having lived under two grand oaks for the last ten years. When I stepped on the scene they were already planning to build a screen enclosure. It’s a big step for clients who really do like to keep it natural. They enlisted my help to create a warm inviting space that they could entertain and still feel like they were in a luxury atmosphere. The challenge then becomes creating a cool creative space that doesn’t feel boxed in. I’ll be using reflective light on cut metal screens to create beautiful mood lighting. Oh and I’m super excited about the fire place! This job should take a little bit so stay tuned for updates…



Curb Appeal: A Plain Builders Spec get’s a make over…Bahama Style!

Filed Under: Tips - Kim Levell
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Curb Appeal: A Plain Builders Spec get’s a make over…Bahama Style!

Not sure what to call this style?


 I worked on this home awhile back. The design concept was almost fully executed except for new railings, front door, and garage door. At least if ever the clients ever want to take it up to the next level they’ll know what to do!  The items completed were strategically selected made a great impact. It looks great!  

When you have a large three story home like this it’s important to save some money in the budget for full size landscape material. It brings the house into scale and adds warmth. I replaced and redesigned the driveway, added a mixed combination of a small roof and arbor over the garages which will later have a flowering vine. The redesign also included matching royal palms in 18″ *gw (see explanation at bottom of page), a new metal roof, paint color change, Bahamian shutters, lighting, and am I missing anything?

Bahama Beautiful!


*GW= grey wood. It’s the total of exposed grey wood from bottom to top. This does not include the crown shaft or fronds.



Chapel Hill Herbs, teas, and more at the Farmer’s Market of Goodness


Chapel Hill Herbs, teas, and more at the Farmer’s Market of Goodness


Water Dog Farms


A few months ago I started making frequent visits to North
Carolina. While my usual annual trip was to High Point to scout for amazing
new furniture, fabrics , and accessories it’s now because I’ve met an amazing  guy. Fortunately for me he lives in the great
little college town of Chapel Hill. When I visit any new place one of my
favorite things to do is check out the local farming scene and what better way
to do that than find the obscure outdoor markets. On Saturdays of every week throughout
the year you will find a great group of people converged in a small parking lot
to the side of a well know Chapel Hill gourmet supermarket called A Southern
Season. I’ll save that little gem for another blog.

A Southern Season

A Southern Season

So I’ve got my market shopping
technique down. I’m like the local market sleuth scouting out each booth for the best of the best while
trying to remain incognito keeping my eyes perched on the goods. I find it
nearly impossible to avoid contact in North Carolina. No matter what
store you go into they will do some Cirque du Soleil yoga move to position
themselves in your direction, give a big warm “hi”, and it’s all over! I’m spending some cash on whatever they’ve got. I’m a sucker for sweet people! While
I consider myself to be a friendly person having been born in the salt of the
earth city of Pittsburgh, and raised from age of 10 in sunny Florida,  I don’t come close
to being as hospitable as this truly cool group of North Carolina Farmers.  Pace yourselves!


Two of my favorite “hello’s”  came from Christopher and Rickie of Water Dog Farms in Hurdle Mills, NC.
These two guys cashed in their chips to try their hand at
farming. Their crops of choice are sustainably produced flowers, teas, herbs,
and native plants. Geez… just sing my heart song why don’t you!  Although I picked up the bergamot and few
other great ones I really loved their fresh Roselle Hibiscus Tea! On this day
that I visited they were serving it on ice with local organic honey. It was
totally refreshing and pretty too! Ok so I know it’s not exactly ice tea
weather for many of you but if you are able to find the beautiful ruby red roselle buds
in your local market than pick some up for the holidays and color your water pink!  I think it would be beautiful to throw a
handful in a clear glass pitcher or maybe you serve one up in a martini. I see
limitless holiday party possibilities here. After all this plant is used as a tonic for digestive and kidney funtions. Now who couldn’t use that over the holiday season!


Here is how these boys recommend you brew if you would like
to enjoy this splendid herbal tea for your sipping pleasure.

Boil fresh seed pods with calyces for 5 minutes until the
water turns dark pink. Remove from boil and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain
out the water and drink or pour over ice. Oh and don’t forget the honey
although stevia is a good thing too!