Yes, it does exist! And, no, you can’t do it yourself.

Kitchen RemodelingAre you looking at your kitchen, thinking it needs to be renovated and realizing the funds are just not there? Consider a cheaper alternative with an affordable facelift. Making a few budget-friendly changes and adding modern accents could be enough to transform that kitchen from frumpy to fantastic.

Where to Begin

Before starting this project, it’s important to determine what is outdated, falling apart or in need of a little improvement. Are your cabinets salvageable? Do your appliances need to be replaced?

A recent shift toward black-and-white kitchens adds a level of sleek sophistication

When it comes to spending lavishly on luxury goods, times are achangin’. But new trends show it’s not completely impossible to find quality and cost-efficiency. Merge the old with the new by incorporating cheaper, new, efficient faucet designs in your kitchen design.

Undercounter sinks and sinks without an integrated faucet platform are becoming the “it” design. According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA): “This is caused in part by the fact that undercounter sinks are ideal for deck-mount bridge designs, because if the sink is already pre-drilled with three holes, the middle hole that is not needed with a bridge-style faucet will be concealed by the countertop. In a drop-in or tile-in installation, the sink rests on the countertop exposing the middle hole.”

Lowcountry gardens open for tour May 16.

Dee Johnson with winning painting, “Poppies”Dee Johnson with her winning painting perfectly captures the essence of the All Saints Garden Tour — all things bright and beautiful.

The 22nd annual occasion of this popular island event occurs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 16, bringing delight to all visitors, whether gardeners or simply lovers of beauty. Dee’s original painting entitled “Poppies” will be sold at silent auction, the winner to be announced on May 16.

Tour chairwoman Elizabeth Loda and garden selection co-chairs, Rosalie Van Dam and Caroline McVitty are pleased to present for your pleasure and guidance eight special Lowcountry gardens, briefly as follows:

Savannah Garden Expo

A Spring ExtravaganzaTotaling the number of people who attend the ninth annual Savannah Garden Exposition each year is down-right difficult, said Kelly Carr, event director.

“I’ve heard the magic number is 3,000,” she said, adding that the event attracts tourists, locals and garden club members from all along the northeast coast. “It’s for everyone. We designed it that way, really.”

The three-day event will include complimentary arts and crafts activities for children, free lectures for all levels of green thumbs, open-air markets, garden picnics, wine tastings in private gardens, and auctions, to name a few activities. The event will take place from April 17-19 at the Roundhouse Railroad Museum. Tickets vary depending on the event, with proceeds benefiting the Historic Savannah Foundation and the Isaiah Davenport House Museum.

Athens Select touts sure bets for planting now.

Annual salvia ‘Victoria’Yes, there will be blooms for sure but the question is which, where and how many?

Many people who love to garden, do not, unfortunately like to plan ahead.

And most will succumb to the prettiest thing they see in the nursery with only the vaguest, if any, idea what or where they will plant it.

This approach leads to a less desirable effect than is hoped for, since a garden is not just a collection of plants but a work of art, a composition with all attendant joys and challenges and not to be undertaken carelessly. It also involves the extra dimension of time because it constantly evolves. However, along with the short lecture, help is at hand and may be found, where else but online at the Athens Select Web site.

John’s Island Beach ClubSimple Elegance. These two words were the heart and soul behind J Banks Design’s vision for their recently completed project, John’s Island Beach Club; an approximately 50,000 square foot Private Club located in Vero Beach’s best-known luxury private community, John’s Island.

The firm was hired three and a half years ago to create a sophisticated, yet extremely casual and comfortable space where families would enjoy beachside living. J Banks Design was involved in every detail of the interior design process including the execution of integral millwork drawings, specifying all finish and hard material selections as well as selecting, ordering and installing all furnishings, artwork and accessories.

The original John’s Island Beach Club was torn down, and rebuilt nine feet higher and 75 feet closer to the Atlantic Ocean to afford better overall views. The design team’s main goal was to make sure that the new Beach Club was all about the gorgeous views, something that the former Beach Club “missed.” The finished product is now an interior setting that seamlessly translates to the outdoors. Soaring ceilings, classic columns and grand mahogany doors frame the view of the ocean and are responsible for evoking a design experience that is parallel to a tropical paradise.

Art expert to trace Asian influence on landscape design.

Idyllic Retreats - Chinese and Japanese GardensSea Pines Garden Club will sponsor a special treat for Hilton Head Island garden lovers when internationally recognized Asian art expert and filmmaker Paula Haller presents a lecture and slide show program titled “Chinese and Japanese Gardens: Idyllic Retreats.”

The unique event will take place at 10 a.m. March 23 at Coligny Theatre and will last one hour. Tickets are $10 and are available (while they last), at the following locations: The Greenery at both Bluffton and Hilton Head locations, Christie’s Hallmark at Bluffton and Hilton Head locations, Pretty Papers at Wexford and Burke’s Main Street Pharmacy. Further ticket information may be had from Diana Norlander at (843) 363-6580. Ticket availability is limited to seating capacity of Coligny Theatre.

Spring Into Action – Declutter Your HomeAre the stacks of paper, mail and magazines taking over your home?

Do you trip over the kids’ toys or someone’s shoes every time you enter a room?

Often this seems like a typical environment of a busy family, but it can create stress and frustration.

Clearing the clutter and organizing your home is the key to having more time to relax and enjoy time with your family.

As spring-cleaning begins, it is smart to look at each area of your home to see what needs to be re-evaluated for better efficiency and organization. There are a few helpful hints to make sure you avoid feeling overwhelmed with this project.

Spring Tour of Homes a Beaufort traditionIT WOULDN’T BE SPRING IN BEAUFORT WITHOUT St. Helena Episcopal Church’s annual Spring Tour of Homes. Known as a showcase of the historic city’s antebellum homes, the tour started in 1956 to help raise funds for a new parish house.

Fifty-three years later, the tour has become a community tradition and often attracts visitors from all over North America, said Reneé Killian-Dawson, tour chairwoman.

“We are blessed to have so many historic homes in the area — many surviving before the war of the states,” said Killian-Dawson, an interior designer and a historian. “We have a lot of civic pride. People from all over the place love these homes.”

Chairing a historic home tour couldn’t be more appropriate for Killian-Dawson. Her background in restoring English countryside historic homes helped inspire her Beaufort design business, English Interiors.

Musings on what it’s all about — for those who dig it.

..nothing is gained by not gathering roses.”Although it amounts to preaching to the choir, herewith a compendium of thoughts from gardeners who seem to grasp what it’s all about. Let us all get psyched up for the coming garden year!

If some expressions resonate more than others with various reader/gardeners, all contain a seed of reality, expressed poetically or more pragmatically. So, why garden? It is tempting to simply say that one gardens because he/she can’t help it. Is it genetic? Sometimes yea, sometimes nay. Well, what is the sweet mystery

then? Here follow several observations of devotees from the recent and distant past.  "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Who had the nerve to make such a bald pronouncement? Why, Cicero of course.