Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Preparing Gardens for Winter

Terra Nova Nurseries' Helleborus
 Winter Jewels™ 'Amethyst Gem'
As the winter season approaches those in the landscape and gardening industries know that it is important to keep plants protected from the harsh, cold weather conditions. This can include many different tasks such as pruning plants; taking stock of the garden; spot-checking individual plants; and planting varieties that grow well in the winter time. 

Gardeners and landscape designers, we have listed below several tips that we believe are important for winter gardening and that will get you in the right mindset for the upcoming season!
  • Prune Deciduous Trees and Shrubs – Winter is a great time to prune back deciduous plants because the foliage has dropped, and it is easier to see the branching structure. Several things to remember is to prune any diseased or broken limbs, remove branches that go against the plant’s natural flow and be conservative when cutting back. The natural architecture of the plant will be a guide as to what needs to be trimmed back. 
  • Spot-check Plants Individually – The extreme changes in the weather can put a real toll on plants. Evergreen trees and shrubs usually get the worst of the winter months so making sure they have a fresh layer of mulch that is 3 to 4 inches deep after the first hard freeze of the season is very important. Certain perennials might need to be taken care of this time of the year as well. Try cutting back the bulk of the foliage in mass plantings of grasses while still being cautious to not damage the crowns.
  • Take Stock of the Garden’s Design – This is a good time to take a look at the permanent elements of a garden landscape such as the lawn, paths or evergreens. If a garden seems empty after the first frost of the season it might be a good idea to add a mixed bed with plants that grow well in the winter. A border of potted plants works well too because they can be easily covered or moved inside if the weather is too harsh. 
  • Add Plants That Grow Well in Winter – Just because the temperature has fallen doesn’t mean a garden has to go into hibernation. There are many plants that grow well in the cold winter months. The following plants look beautiful throughout the whole season. 
    • Helleborus – This winter blooming perennial thrives in light shade and usually grows between 1 to 3 feet. Our client, Terra Nova Nurseries has a nice variety of helleborus that are available for purchase. 
    • Lamium Maculatum ‘White Nancy’ – Its silvery colored leaves look beautiful in the winter as a ground cover to lighten up shaded beds. It also grows well in dry weather. 
    • Nandina 'Fire Power' – The foliage on this shrub has a deep crimson hue all winter long. 
Check out these links for additional ideas and inspiration:

Let us know what you think. Do you have any specific tips that you use in your own garden during the winter time?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Designing for Small Kitchens

Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
When designing for apartments, condos, or older homes, there’s the possibility of running into smaller kitchens. Tight spaces may lead to fewer appliances, smaller furniture and simpler schemes, but they don’t have to cut back on ideas. Use these opportunities to get creative and think outside the box.

Designers, ECPR came up with some of our favorite small kitchen design tips to inspire ideas for your next small-space project.


1. Mirrored Illusions
  • Glossy appliances – Considering glossy appliances are a hot trend, clients probably won’t mind installing them. The added bonus is they’ll reflect lots of light and make the space feel bigger. 
  • Mirrored backsplash – When picking out a backsplash it may be useful to consider choosing one that doubles as a mirror so there is the ability to open the space up even more. 
2. Embrace the Light
  • Windows Are A Plus – By adding windows to the kitchen, natural light can flood the room and makes it feel airy and brighter, ultimately making it feel larger. 
  • Light Color Schemes- Sticking to crèmes and whites can always makes a room feel larger, which is the way to go in a small space. However don’t be afraid of adding a touch of color. Smaller kitchens still need some personality, so try adding a colorful backsplash or colored appliance. 
3. Go Vertical
  • Floor To Ceiling Cabinets - Utilize the space that’s there and provide additional storage space with floor to ceiling cabinets. 
  • Taller, narrower cabinetry makes rooms feel more spacious and less clunky. 
4. Islands That Serve A Purpose
  • Multi-utility Islands - Even if the kitchen calls for a smaller island, it doesn't have to lack importance and purpose. Pick an island with plenty of storage options or a breakfast bar attached to the side. Another idea is to install the microwave below the island, allowing the extra wall space for cabinetry. 
  • Islands on Wheels - If the kitchen is really cramped opt for a smaller island on wheels. This allows for it to be there while clients are cooking, but can be rolled to another room while they’re entertaining. 
5. Storage Solutions
  • Shelves - Just because its storage doesn't mean it has to be stored away from plain view. Adding shelves are great alternatives to cabinets and allow the space to feel more open. 
  • Pull Out Pantries - The last thing a small kitchen needs is clutter, our team suggests adding a pull out pantry, or two, to alleviate spare food items or kitchen products that tend to just hang out on top of the counter. 
Check out these sites for inspiring designs: 

Better Homes and Gardens Small Space Kitchen Island Ideas:

HGTV 10 Small Kitchens:

39 Small Kitchen Design Ideas:

House Beautiful Small Kitchen Designs - Ideas for a Small Kitchen:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Modern Meets Traditional

The High Point Market is now in full swing and there are many exciting new trends, products and accessories for designers and buyers to see. One of the multiple new collections being showcased this week comes from recognized design personality / HGTV star Candice Olson. The well known designer has partnered with Highland House, a company known for its stylish, easy-to-live with, designer-quality furniture. The new collection features more than 80 pieces of upholstery and case goods. Olson describes the collection as “modern meets traditional.” With Highland House’s traditional approach and Olson’s modern chic design ideas, we believe the two are a great team! 

Our friends at Furniture Today have been at High Point Market all week gathering interesting coverage to share with fellow industry professionals. Below is a video hosted by Ray Allegrezza, editor-in-chief at Furniture Today, as he interviews Olson on how the new collection was designed, as well as gives a few “sneak peek” shots of the furniture pieces. 

What do you think of Highland House’s new “modern meets traditional” collection?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ECPR Shares Expert Advice About Twitter

Our team recently penned a byline article for Greenhouse Grower magazine, one of the top horticulture publications in the nation. From the benefits of using Twitter to an introductory lesson on how to write a results-oriented Tweet, our article provides helpful tips and insights on the inner-workings of this worldwide phenomenon. To read our full article about Twitter, click here.

If you are interested in developing a Twitter channel for your own brand and are unsure of the necessary steps and actions to take, our team can help. At ECPR, we specialize in PR 2.0, as we define it, the combination of traditional public relations and today’s social media networks. This leads to building online communities – of existing customers, potential customers, supporters, media members, and others within your constituency groups. To learn more about our social media and traditional public relations services, visit our website at

Friday, October 5, 2012

Southern Vernacular Architecture and Southern Interior Design Panel at ADAC

We are excited to announce an upcoming panel discussion and book signing event our team conceptualized and is managing for a client, Historical Concepts. Our very own Don Eberly and Jeff Collard will be on location to moderate the panel.

Jim StricklandHistorical Concepts
Photo Credit: Emily Jenkins Followill
Jim Strickland, Founder and Senior Partner at Historical Concepts and co-author of Coming Home: The Southern Vernacular House, will headline the group of well-known designers, authors and media pros for the informative panel that will explore all things related to Southern Vernacular Architecture and Southern Interior Design. The panel will be held at 1:30 p.m., Oct. 18, 2012, in the seminar room at ADAC, the preeminent design center of the Southeast for residential and contract furnishings. Following the panel at 2:30 p.m., the Holland & Company showroom at ADAC (Suite 238) will host a group book signing and “meet and greet” reception with the panelists / authors. 

The renowned panelist members will also include Phoebe Howard, co-owner of retail stores Mrs. Howard and Max & Company, and author of The Joy of Decorating: Southern Style with Mrs. Howard; Kimberly Grigg, founder of Knotting Hill Interiors, guest-host “Stylebroker” on ABC affiliate WPDE TV 15, and author of the upcoming book, Livable Luxury; Carolyn Hultman, founder of Carolyn Hultman Interior Design and featured in books such as Paula Deen’s Savannah Style and Historical Concepts’ Coming Home: The Southern Vernacular House; and very special guest panelist Lindsay Bierman, editor-in-chief at Southern Living magazine. 

Coming Home: The Southern Vernacular House, by Strickland and his firm’s partners, showcases Historical Concepts’ expertise in reinterpreting the roots of southern vernacular design. Beautifully photographed, the book offers readers a range of southern inspiration through a number of homes, buildings and communities the architecture firm has designed.

Paula Deen’s book, Savannah Style, offers tips on how to bring southern charm into all aspects of the home. Hultman collaborated with Deen to design and furnish two guest cottages on Deen’s riverside estate, which are prominently featured in the book. In The Joy of Decorating: Southern Style with Mrs. Howard, the grace and elegance of Southern interior design in many stylish spaces are featured and organized by theme. Copies of the three books will be available for purchase and can be signed or personalized by the authors at the event.

As part of Bierman’s panel participation, he will offer insight from his experience driving the editorial vision, content and direction for Southern Living, the country’s seventh-largest monthly paid magazine as well as his vast knowledge of architecture and design.

We are looking forward to this event and hope to see many of our fans and followers at ADAC, Oct. 18.

Kimberly Grigg,
Knotting Hill Interiors
Phoebe Howard,
Mrs. Howard and Max & Company
Lindsay Bierman,
Southern Living
Carolyn Hultman,
Carolyn Hultman Interior Design