Boxwood Avenue

Simply Summer Home Tour

homemaking, livingChloe | Boxwood Ave.2 Comments

A peek into our almost finished kitchen! Join me for the Simply Summer home tour and visit 20 other blogging friends' summer homes!

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Kitchen Update |

My friend Nina Hendrick asked me if I would like to participate in her annual Simply Summer Home Tour awhile back, and I happily agreed. I thought we would be long finished with the remodel by the time the tour rolled around, well...we aren't. 

I still wanted to participate and asked her if it'd be okay for me to share a few photos of our progress rather than a finished space, so here we are. 

We are 12 weeks into the reno and we are expecting to be finished in about a week! The whole renovation has gone by so quickly, and I have enjoyed every moment of it. Even the concrete countertops, which were less than friendly, were still fun to learn about. 

Kitchen Update |

I am still searching for budget friendly drawer pulls (I found the perfect pulls, but they are $50 a pop). I think I have narrowed it down to either these or these

Our island and dining table also arrived which is very exciting. Our table seats 14 - the perfect size to sit the entire crew for dinner after a branding. Our island is a rustic wood table and balances the concrete and shaker cabinets quite nicely. 

As you can see in the photos we still need to install backsplash (happening this week). We went with the small 1" marble hexagon; that is really the last major thing happening in the kitchen. With the exception of removing the current countertop seal and re-applying a more intense one...I will have to write about that separately. 

I am still deciding on counter stools and a runner in the kitchen. I found some pink stools from World Market, but I can't decide if they are too trendy or not. I would love your opinion! I think the pink offsets the gray tiles and plays with the brass tones of the stove nicely. 

I also plan on making a faux roman shade for over the kitchen sink. I envision something very organic and relaxed - I am working with InstaLinen for the materials and am leaning towards this print

Almost finished kitchen |
Almost finished kitchen |
Almost finished kitchen |

I hope to have more photos ready to share sometime next week. The dust is finally settling, and we are beginning to clean everything up and move back in. We painted the porch this week, and I can't decide if it was the right decision or not...I'll let you know if I'm stripping it next week.

Thank you so very much for stopping by - I hope you enjoyed our unfinished space almost as much as the rest of the beautiful homes on the summer home tour. If you are new to my site, I hope you'll join my subscriber list below or follow along on instagram


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The Academy France Recap | #BonJourBoxwood

Chloe | Boxwood Ave.Comment

Chateau Mondesir was the most special place to learn from stylist Heather Bullard at The Academy. A week full of learning, travel, and beauty! 

Chateau Mondesir |

I am home from France and feeling a little bittersweet - it's so wonderful to be home with my family, but France is such a special place. I wish Greg could pack up the cows, goats, and Cody and bring them all here. I am absolutely head over heels in love with France...

My time with Heather, Jill, Haley and the other ladies that attended The Academy France was absolutely incredible. Each day was filled with learning and exploring, and all I had to do was show up with my camera and a positive attitude. The trip was focused on creative growth and learning from Heather Bullard who is a stylist for magazines like Country Living, HGTV, and many more. She encouraged us to focus on our own personal taste and develop our own style rather than focusing on what others were doing. She was very inspiring and loved sharing her knowledge with us, see below for some of my favorite tips! 

Chateau Mondesir France |
Chateau Mondesir |

Lessons Learned: 

When styling objects, avoid tangent lines. For example: avoid a chair leg and a table leg being exactly in line with each other. Also avoid styling objects on the same plane - rather than placing 3 pitchers of the same height on a shelf, use multiple heights to create interest. 

Photographs should always have some sort of flow, movement, or life to them. This can be achieved with linens, florals, even steam coming out of a cooking pot. By doing so, life is added to the image and makes it more interesting and inviting to the viewer. 

Using multiples of three, you can create triangular patterns within an image to draw the eye in the direction you'd like it to go. For example; a green book, greenery, and green vase all within the photo can be strategically placed to give the viewer subconscious direction of how you'd like the photo to be viewed. 

When directing lifestyle images with a model - use a series of movements you'd like performed so that the images have natural and realistic movement to them. I loved this tip! 

Roses in France |
Chateau Mondesir France |

Favorite Places 

The market at Eymet: This market happens once per year and Heather scheduled the entire trip around it. Like I said in my post about the market, we had to do some sifting to find the treasures, but there were enough hidden gems to please everyone. I found 6 copper pots for 60 euros, and table linens for as little as 1 euro. It was fantastic, plus the town of Eymet was darling...I think my favorite part was when I walked into a local cafe and Sweet Home Alabama was playing on the radio. 

Heather took us to the historic town of Périgueux and we had so much fun exploring the winding streets of the city. We started at the open-air market and then spent the rest of the afternoon in small groups (I was with my friends Hannah & Nina). We walked and walked and walked, and I made Nina nervous by j-walking some more ;). I loved this city and would definitely recommend a visit if you have time; however, I preferred St-Émilion over Périgueux, so if you only have time for one stop, I'd go with St-Émilion. 

I already shared a bit about St-Émilion here, so I won't go into detail, but it was one of the highlights of the trip. I would absolutely recommend searching the area for an Air B&B or chateau to stay in for a few days, it was an incredible area.

Bordeaux: I would also suggest staying in Bordeaux for a few days. The actual city-center is quite small, and very easy to grasp your surroundings. I felt safe the entire time (even when alone), and really enjoyed the culture {neat restaurants, bars, and lots of young people}.

My friend Debbie and I stayed for a few days after the Academy at The Grand Hotel, and it was so fabulous. I loved their rooftop bar and enjoyed being in the heart of the city. There was something very special about Bordeaux - it was very Parisian feeling, but the massive amount of young people completely surprised me. Debbie and I ended up enjoying a late dinner at the same spot each night which was located at the entrance of the city - we loved sitting and watching the people walk by and wondered where they were going. There is a university there which contributes to the hip nightlife, bars, shops, and restaurants. I liked the city because I could explore it within a few days; whereas Paris, could take months and months. I began to really love Bordeaux and would like to go back and stay again to see more of the outlaying chateaus and vineyards. 

Chateau Mondesir |
Bordeaux, France |
Bordeaux, France |

Many people have asked me if I felt like the trip was "worth" the money. I have to say that any traveling is worth the money. Getting to experience different cultures and see different architecture, art, and landscapes is a true gift. While I went on this trip to learn from Heather, I also learned from the other ladies on the trip.

I will say this: group travel is really fun!! I love socializing and meeting new people, so it was really nice to have a built-in group of friends on the trip. I would absolutely recommend this trip to you if you are interested, and if you have been dreaming of France, I think a group trip is a great way to experience the country without any stress - all you have to do is show up! 

From my camera roll

I took so many photos on my phone, that I thought I would share some of them here because they show a little bit more of the relaxed parts of the trip - you can click to enlarge them, and if you have any questions about locations, just leave a comment. Hugs!

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The Academy France Day Four & Five | #BonJourBoxwood

Chloe | Boxwood Ave.Comment

After the styling portion of our workshop we spent our final days visiting the surrounding towns of the Chateau. We shopped the open-air market in Perigeux and walked the hills of Saint-Émilion - both of which are UNESCO world heritage sites. 

Farmer's Market in Périgueux at The Academy France |
Farmer's Market in Perigeux, France at The Academy |
Farmer's Market in Périgueux at The Academy France |
Farmer's Market in Périgueux at The Academy France |
The Streets of Périgueux at The Academy France |

The open-air market in Perigeux was similar to a farmer's market in the states, except there was a hustle and bustle that we usually don't see in America. All of the people were shopping quickly to purchase their fresh veggies for the week. There were also eggs, fish, pastries, and flowers...all that was missing was cheese & wine. I loved the egg stand, and began taking photos of the egg-man's fresh eggs. He stood back and watched us quizzically as if he could not understand what was so interesting about eggs. 

The city of Perigeux was quite large - but the historic center was preserved to remain as it was with cobblestone streets and all of the charm. My new friends HannahNina, and I spent hours walking the streets and eyeing the beautiful homes surrounding the historical section. We found a few abandoned chateaus that I wish we could have toured, but instead found a darling pizza restaurant in one of the hidden squares of the city. We chatted and enjoyed pizza & wine while listening to live music and watching the French dogs play while their owners ate. It was magical. 

On our last day, we spent the morning in the prehistoric town of Saint-Émilion. I don't quite know how to describe the town besides: moving. The outlaying geography is full of incredible chateaus - some inhabited, some abandoned - and sprawling vineyards. The town itself is preserved, and houses an incredible church and rolling hills of cobblestone streets dotted with small tasting rooms and darling little shops. The moment we walked up to the view overlooking the town, we were moved to tears. It was as if we couldn't believe something that incredible actually existed.

I walked around the town in complete awe. Really, it was the most beautiful place I had ever been. I suppose I haven't been that many places, but Saint-Émilion was truly breathtaking. We enjoyed a picnic lunch prepared by Jill & Haley, and afterwards, I laid down on the picnic blanket facing the sky. I stopped to breathe and take in the weight of the moment, and just how special it was. I think I will remember that feeling forever. 

After our picnic, we headed back to the chateau and spent the afternoon cooking (and photographing) Heather's strawberry-rhubarb & balsamic pepper jam. We practiced photographing lifestyle imagery and I loved her tip on directing the model with a series of actions to capture natural movement. The photos came out much more realistic than singular poses - a tip worth its weight in gold. 

Strawberry Rhubarb & Balsamic Pepper Jam with Heather Bullard at The Academy France |
Strawberry Rhubarb & Balsamic Pepper Jam with Heather Bullard at The Academy France |
Strawberry Rhubarb & Balsamic Pepper Jam with Heather Bullard at The Academy France |

The trip ended with a farewell dinner in the chateau's barn. The barn does not have electricity, so we relied on candlelight and laughter. Haley set the table beautifully with tea candles in saved glass yogurt jars and lots of greenery - we even had calligraphed place settings made by Jill. After the fabulous dinner, we convinced the rest of the girls to disco dance in the candlelight, and I don't think I need to say anything more than that. 

It was an incredible trip - and I learned so much, but more importantly, I made new friendships with fun, fearless females (FFF) from all over the world. Like Alissa from Amsterdam renovating a historic Dutch home, Hannah from North Carolina studying interior design, Liz - our favorite comedian, Annette the artist, and so so much more. I loved listening to their stories and what inspires them; I am coming home with a full & grateful heart and a recharged creative battery.

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