Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday Woodworks - Fall Inspirations

Halloween is right around the corner!  How would you like to spend your weekend?  Somewhere like above in this cozy-spaces-for-the-fall post?

Herbst Architects via desiretoinspire

How about someplace edgy and and earthy like this herbst-architects post?

Ashlee Raubach via designsponge

Perhaps you would prefer to take your time on a major makeover project like this before-after-lofty-living-room with dark hardwood floors, trim, and faux ceiling beams, with just a touch of goth influence in the black iron chandelier.

Who would be daring enough to take on a decaying mansion and breathe it back to life?  See many more hauntingly beautiful images of extremely-creepy-abandoned-houses here.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

In the Pink - Breast Cancer Awareness Event

Image from danielledujour

Tonight please show your support of breast cancer awareness month at the "In the Pink" celebration at the The Regent Palms.  The fabulous fashion sale extravaganza starts at 6pm followed by complimentary pink cocktails at the Green Flamingo bar from 7-8pm.  Post shopping hit the pool deck for sangria and dancing under the stars.  Surprise bartenders, prizes, and more! 
For detailed information please visit activities/in-the-pink/ or call 946.8666

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wednesday Woodworks - Bedrooms

Cozy and comfortable woodworks are a perfect accessory to any bedroom.  Here are a few of our current inspirations:

Adore this divine mix of rustic and refined, industrial metals and soft textures .

Image via simplyseleta

An entirely timber attic bedroom, dreamy . . .

Derek Swalwell image via desiretoinspire

Something to be said for a simple white wood bedroom bathed in natural light.

Image via designesquire

Creative use of upholstery tacks on this stylishly designed wood headboard.

Elle Decor Showhouse image via katie-d-i-d

Spiral after spiral on this pair of turned post beds, notice the clever craftmanship in the shapes of the drawer fronts on an otherwise boxy side table.

Image via mytailoredlife

This Scandinavian bedroom demonstrates an earthy side to white painted hardwood floors.

Kindalatetothegame Image via glenproebstel

Visible grain hardwood flooring; a great use of texture in this understated bedroom, pulled together perfectly with the dramatic bold black frame of the headboard mirror.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Landscaping 101 in Turks and Caicos - Part 1

  Today is a rarity here in Turks and Caicos; a grey, overcast, cool day perfect for landscaping and an opportune time to finish a few last touches to a major summer project at Fleur de Lys Villa.  A year ago I blogged a few before-and-afters showing just how far the villa had come over the course of five years.  Take a peek there and one can plainly see how a house in the Caribbean is simply not a home until you have a yard.  I sincerely hope that our landscaping mistakes and naivety (introduced in  this post) can act as a learning tool for others who are in the same predicament, or are about to sink their shovels in on their own project. 

Villa before the finished entrance in 2007. A change of mind on the driveway placement lead to unnecessary clear cutting in the front.

  When we built the villa we had a solid knowledge foundation with regards to construction and about zero when it came to landscaping.  With a home designed around a central courtyard and whose very essence is all about enjoying the great outdoors, our yard was elevated to numero uno on the priority list.  Our first mistake: clearing too much of the indigenous bush.  When we began construction I did not have the appreciation of the beautiful TCI bush that I do now.  Now I am educated on just how rare and lovely our Tropical-Dry-Forest really is.  As soon as one realises the amount of labor, love, and pocket money it takes to keep a single plant, flower, shrub, or tree happy and healthy over the course of it's lifetime, one knows to LEAVE ALONE what is already there and thriving!  Leave alone what is already rooted and acclimated and most likely a home to all kinds of species if you just take a moment to study it.  Mother Nature put it there for a reason, and unless it's an invasive-species or harmful/poisonous, it is providing a vital function in it's given environment.

September 2006

Our second mistake; hiring a pricey landscaper.  We thought we had the best in the business, a well reputed, long established company with loads of impressive contracts in their portfolio.  Turns out we two DIY'ers would have been far better off to save our money and simply take things slowly, seek advice from neighbors, friends, and the professional/environmental enthusiasts at the DECR.  Within the first year we had; ripped out the courtyard grass the landscaper talked us into which never took and had us tracking mud into every room in the house, removed the mulch that invited termites onto the property, and transplanted dozens of ficus placed along the exterior walls when we discovered how aggressive their root systems are and that our plumbing pipes were soon to be targets.  The following two years were filled with several casualties; two large coconuts who caught lethal yellowing, $1400 worth of yellow allamanda smothered by macho ferns, and firecrackers that didn't survive the attempt to save them from feet climbing in and out of the hot tub. There were also many more transplants, some out of  necessity such as the mahogany who began to be crowded by a large coconut, and others out of aesthetic, like the dozens of fountain grass we thought would look great near the pool until they bloomed . . . and sent their feathery seed pods swimming.   Then there was the massive undertaking of converting all of the spray-irrigation to drip-irrigation after researching ways to conserve water and finding out that the later is 90% effective in comparison to the formers 30-50%.   I strongly suggest to everyone in the Caribbean, where water is a precious resource, install drip systems to every applicable area.  It will save tons of water and a great deal of money over the course of time. 
Courtyard in 2009

If you do hire a landscaper, do your homework!  Inquire with a client they don't include in their portfolio, someone you may know who has a project similiar to yours.  Take an evening to google the species on their estimate and make certain if you find any negative characteristic, ask the lansdcaper if those possibilities are applicable here in the Turks and Caicos. Request drawings and reasonable projections for what your yard will blossom into 5 years from now, 10 years, and even 20 down the road.  If we would have had this foresight, we never would have allowed an olive tree to be planted in the courtyard.  For three years we watched her grow from a skinny little stick (as shown in the 2006 image above) into a gorgeous Shady Lady.  This lady and her neighboring tabebuia friend pictured above, had the courtyard looking absolutely beautiful, that is if you swept it every hour on the hour!  That's right, these two were quite the lookers but what mess makers! They shed so much that the spa, the prized water feature and focal point of the courtyard, was kept under cover for the last two years, creating an eyesore versus the serene sight we intended.  We thought of how much time we had spent sweeping, digging leaves out of the gutters, carefully raking the planters so as not to disturb the delicate peace lilies and other plants, and knew that something must be done.

2008, native stone replaced the impractical grass

After weeks of brainstorming possible solutions, we looked around at the covered hot tub, the leaf littered courtyard, the native stone buckling from the expanding roots of both the Schefflera and the mahagony (which had also begun to shed daily in the pool) and we decided with very heavy hearts, to make some very big changes.

September 2011, in the middle of the transplant
Stay tuned for the "after" images in Part 2!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bird Monitoring and No Plastic Picnic Saturday Oct 15th

Image from greenantilles

  At last Thursdays tci-environmental-club meeting, we discussed a few recent topics including the DECR's  impressive collection of 8,676 native Caicos Pine seeds, the previous meetings heated debate in regards to the Invasive Causarina, and the upcoming event for this coming Saturday, October 15th.  Please join us at 7:30am at the Lower Bight Park across from the National Environmental Centre for a morning of Bird Monitoring in our wondrous-west-indian-wetlands!  The migration season has begun and several sites are bound to see a great deal of activity which will later be logged onto  An exerpt from their website below:

"Do you know of a pond, mangrove swamp or marsh nearby with waterbirds on it? If yes, we invite you to participate in our first region-wide survey of Caribbean waterbirds, the Caribbean Waterbird Census (CWC), and help us to save waterbirds and their habitats. The Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) is starting a new region-wide waterbird and wetland monitoring program called the Caribbean Waterbird Census (CWC). The goal of this program is to learn more about the distribution, status, and abundance of waterbirds in the Caribbean to improve our conservation planning and management of these beautiful birds and their habitats."

Every entry helps have a better understanding of what happens where and why,  as well as boosts our Turks and Caicos eco-tourism sector.  Please consider taking a little time this Saturday to enjoy our beautiful by nature environment and protect our species!  Welcome to anyone!  We are looking for volunteers willing to provide transportation, please call the DECR for more information.  The morning monitoring is to be followed by a NO PLASTIC PICNIC!  Please Pack-an-Eco-Friendly-Lunch (like pictured below, think reusable containers and no single use plastics) and join us at 12noon at the Lower Bight Park picnic area.

Image from greenrightnow

Columbus Day 2011

 "Columbus Taking Possession" image from

 Today, Monday October 10th, is a public holiday here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Christopher Columbus indeed has had a far reaching impact on the Caribbean region, he set his exploration foot in Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jaimaca, Trinidad, Grenada, Martinique, and of course the country of his debatable first landing and beyond.   A wonderful overview of the man, his life, and his legacy can be read at, please visit there for a better understanding of the exerpt below: 

"The period between the quatercentenary celebrations of Columbus's achievements in 1892–93 and the quincentenary ones of 1992 saw great advances in Columbus scholarship. Numerous books about Columbus appeared in the 1990s, and the insights of archaeologists and anthropologists began to complement those of sailors and historians. This effort has given rise, as might be expected, to considerable debate. There was also a major shift in approach and interpretation; the older pro-European understanding has given way to one shaped from the perspective of the inhabitants of the Americas themselves. According to the older understanding, the “discovery” of the Americas was a great triumph, one in which Columbus played the part of hero in accomplishing the four voyages, in being the means of bringing great material profit to Spain and to other European countries, and in opening up the Americas to European settlement. The more recent perspective, however, has concentrated on the destructive side of the European conquest, emphasizing, for example, the disastrous impact of the slave trade and the ravages of imported disease on the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean region and the American continents. The sense of triumph has diminished accordingly, and the view of Columbus as hero has now been replaced, for many, by one of a man deeply flawed. While this second perception rarely doubts Columbus's sincerity or abilities as a navigator, it emphatically removes him from his position of honour. Political activists of all kinds have intervened in the debate, further hindering the reconciliation of these disparate views."

Image via

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October Market Day at the Graceway Gourmet

Beautiful painting by artist Donna Trent, image via

Hope to see you at the Graceway Gourmet today, Saturday Oct 8th, from 9am to 1pm!  Browse the vendors tables full of handcrafted items; everything from jewelry, to artworks, to delicious treats.  Support local Turks and Caicos talent!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Field Guide Fridays - Yellow Alder

This sunshine colored lovely is locally known as "Bahama Yellow Flower" or "Yellow Alder".  This West Indian natives scientific name is Turnera Ulmifolia but our neighbors may refer to it as "Cuban Buttercup", "West Indian Holly", "Sage Rose", "Sundrops", "Marilopez", or the curious "Ramgoat Dashalong."    The bright blossoms only last a day but luckily this herb blooms throughout the year here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Bees and butterflies are frequent visitors to this sun loving shrub.  Here is what Micki from Big Coppit Key, FL writes:

"This plant is also known as "Yellow Alder" and "Sage Rose." It is tenacious and grows just about anywhere: full sun, shade, dry or moist soil, acidic to alkaline; rich, average, or poor soil; and in the cracks of a sidewalk. It is very drought tolerant.
It does not appear to have many pests, or is not bothered by the ocassional nibble.
It can be grown from seeds and cuttings, but does not transplant well. It does not like having it's feet tickled. The most effective way to transplant is to start it in a peat pot and, if you are going to plant it into the ground, put it in the spot you want it in and leave it alone. I tried to transplant a 2' tall specimen keeping a generous amount of dirt around the root ball, but it went into transplant shock and died anyway.
I have learned it is very comfortable in containers and does not mind becoming root bound. In pots they can be moved around as they grow taller. My oldest Alder plant is about four years old and about 4 1/2 feet high and it has been moved around the garden as the seasons change.
They make beautiful background plants. They can get leggy and may require some staking, so trim the side growth by 1/3 to 1/2 to encourage it to get bushy.
On the down side, most nurseries in Florida do not offer them because they regard them to be weeds and crowd out other plants. I treat mine the same way as mints and ruella (Texas petunia): I pull volunteer plants and keep it contained.
On the up-side, this plant , according to Pub, has the potential to treat MRSA.
I hope this information helped fellow gardners decide if they want this "gypsy" in their garden."

Information taken from daves garden

Another detailed account on this plants characteristics may be read on ntsavanna

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wednesday Woodworks - October favorites

Image via stylemepretty amy-majors-photography, great DIY twig idea for a harvest tablescape
October is the month when autumn makes herself at home, harvest time. Here in the Turks and Caicos we do not experience the same changes as some other places further north but this year we have been up to our elbows and knees in leaves and soil with a harvest of sorts.  A landscaping project at fleur de lys villa  called for a transplant of four of our beloved BIG trees, much more to come on that topic but for now a showcase of a few of our favorite blogs who also share our love of wonderful woodworks.  Enjoy!

A take-you-away-to-your-childhood post on treehouses on mydesignchic

Hardwood floors and built-ins galore in this greigedesign post on dana-wolter

Any given page over at japanesetrash will be certain to have masculine, architectural woodworks set in industrial designs.