September 29, 2010

Le Ballon Jaune

Ziger/Snead, the architectural firm that designed some of the residential buildings at Woodbourne, where I work, is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. Yellow Balloon 1 They hired a talented visual artist to create a project that used a common theme to unite 25 of their buildings over 25 days.

Lee Freeman, the artist, created a concept that had a massive yellow balloon traveling around the city, landing on buildings that Z/S has designed or renovated.Yellow Balloon 037This morning, Lee and his colleague arrived at Woodbourne, just before Tropical Storm Nicole, which is barreling its way up the East Coast. We had a great time with this eight-foot tall yellow balloon around our campus.

Shooting hoops…Yellow Balloon 031 Balancing on the corner of a ladder… Yellow Balloon 033 Rolling it across a roof-line…Yellow Balloon 043 Playing Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz… (and that’s me under there!) Yellow Balloon 073  Playing more hoops…Yellow Balloon 060 Framing artistic shots…Yellow Balloon 076 And generally having a great time, while acknowledging the impact that Ziger/Snead has had on the city of Baltimore. Yellow Balloon 068 For another great post about this, please visit my friends at Stone Hill Farm.

September 28, 2010

Life at the Speed of Light

I just got back from a whirlwind trip up to NYC. It was the most amazing and fun 20 hour trip and there were lots of great thing that happened… but I still can’t tell you.

What I can tell you, however, is the winner of the Billy Baldwin Remembers book!   Connor snuffled around and chose Ann at Nutbird! Congratulations! Pop me an e-mail with your address and I will send the book to you.imagejpeg952Connor’s been spending time with his best friend, Halas, and as you can see, this is totally exhausting to both of them.

September 27, 2010


We are staying at a great hotel on the Upper West Side this evening in preparation for a big day tomorrow. NYC 084Lots of craziness getting ready to come up! Three cities in one day.

Stay tuned…

September 26, 2010

Weekend’s Over!

Whew! The weekend is finally over and I can get on with the new week.Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes for my mum’s speedy recovery. They certainly helped, because when I visited her today, she was hugely improved.

The Pop-Up Flea @ Housewerks was a big success. Thanks so much to everyone who came by to say hi… and my most sincere apologies for not having too much time to talk. We had some great vendors and I was able to get a few fabulous items, including two of these Japanese fishing net floats that I’ve been lusting after since I first saw them. Housewerks 01-09-10 005The b-roll filming that the crew was shooting on Saturday managed to take eight hours, which, I am sure, will be distilled to about one minute! We shot lots of footage (or what-ever you call it now that it’s digital!) at Housewerks and even more at my house. They were incredibly patient with me and my recalcitrant puppy, who managed to get in more than one shot. PopUp 005 It was fun to watch the crew set up some vignettes, including the one above with a pair of chairs I found in an old furniture store and restored, a gate-leg table from a church jumble sale and a Wedgwood teapot I found at Chez Marshalls for $7.00. Oh, and my pound puppy!

The vignette below is comprised of a vintage handbag, one of the scarves that I found a few months ago, an old clock and one of my father’s large format cameras.PopUp 002 Stay tuned for a big adventure this week. It involves a rented BMW 5-series and a road trip!

September 24, 2010

Pigtown Pop-Up is Here!

WOW! This week has been full of ups and downs and lots of work!

My mother fell down some marble stairs and has a concussion and has been in hospital all week. So that’s added a large measure of stress to the week with worrying about her situation and going back and forth to the hospital. It’s doubly sad, since she was headed to Portugal next week for a holiday. Keep her in your thoughts and prayers, please!cookie sailing I’ve been scouring my house finding things for the Pop-Up Flea on Saturday. I’ve polished all of the silver and copper, washed the china and glassware, ironed the linens and priced every item. If you’re in or near Baltimore, it starts at 10:00.02-02-10 010Just to add a bit more stress into the mix, a film crew from one of the design/decorating shows is coming to do some B-roll footage for the show, and then they asked if they could also get some footage at my house! Of course, I’ve just torn the house apart getting things together for the sale, but I said yes anyway. 780guestroom1 I am thrilled that the weather’s supposed to be great – in the mid-80’s and partly sunny. Just perfect for an out-doors yard sale.

If you come, please stop by and introduce yourself. I’d love to meet you!

September 23, 2010

Strawberry Hill – The World’s First Gothic House - Reopens

Horace Walpole (1717 – 1797) discovered Chopp’d Straw Hall in 1747 when it was one of the last remaining sites available on the banks of the Thames in fashionable Twickenham. Gothic-Castle-Strawberry--006 He set about transforming what was then a couple of cottages into his ‘little gothic castle’ with pinnacles, battlements and a round tower set in meadows and gardens with ‘cows and sheep studied for becoming the view’.

The castle (or villa) became a tourist attraction in Walpole’s life-time.  He allowed four visitors a day and published rules for their guidance (no children allowed). His house-keeper frequently showed them round while Walpole retired to his cottage in the grounds.  It was also a place for parties and Walpole delighted in entertaining foreign ambassadors and royalty as well as the English aristocracy, several of whom were near neighbours.  ‘ Dowagers like flounders inhabit all around,’ he wrote.Strawberry-Hill-house-Hor-007

In creating Strawberry Hill, Walpole inspired a new fashion for gothic in both architecture and literature. While houses like nearby Marble Hill were based on classic traditions, order and symmetry, Walpole chose the architecture of gothic cathedrals as the inspiration for his villa. Chimney pieces, doors and ceilings are based on gothic vaulting, medieval tombs and rose windows. Strawberry-Hill-house-Hor-011Winding corridors and gloomy passageways open into the sudden splendour of rooms like the Gallery; ‘all Gothicism, gold and looking glass’ as the poet Thomas Gray described it.Strawberry-Hill-house-Hor-010One night Walpole awoke from a dream and imagined he saw a giant armoured fist on the staircase and it was this that inspired the first gothic novel, The Castle of Otranto. Printed on the first private printing press in the country at Strawberry Hill, it was the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and a literary tradition which lasts into our own time. 

The house had fallen into disrepair and is being re-opened after a £9 million restoration in early October. The website and house will re-launched in full colour at that time.

…Maev Kennedy, The Guardian

September 22, 2010

Bizzy Bizzy Bee!

Things are heating up around here!  I am getting ready for the Pigtown Pop-Up @ Housewerks on Saturday and am working on tagging, labeling and pricing more then 200 items. Even after that, my house won’t be empty! 9-17 003Since I have made the incredible discovery that I am a hunter, not a collector, I am much happier de-accessioning my things.  9-17 011I love the thrill of the hunt, but once I’ve found it, I don’t care about the item as much. It’s the rush of finding something that no one else has discovered.  I love knowing that the next person gets as much joy and pleasure out of having the item as I have had finding it.9-17 031At the same time I am working on this, I am planning an architectural tour of a corner of Baltimore’s downtown that’s got some terrific buildings which have been renovated into new spaces, as well as my Tour de Baltimore in mid-October. 11-7 018The bad dog Connor and I are looking for more people to tell us who they think is the heir or heiress to Billy Baldwin’s design chops and win the Billy Baldwin Remembers and the Billy Baldwin Catalogue!  Enter your comments here. 

I have a huge surprise next week and I am just shrieking that I can’t tell you yet!

September 21, 2010

Chatsworth Attic Sale Video

Sotheby’s has put out an amazing seven-minute long video of the attic sale at Chatsworth House in the UK.  There are more than 20,000 pieces up for offer during this three day event.

As the current and 12th Duke of Devonshire says, “What are we going to do, get a bigger house?”.  chatsworth 4 Apparently, there was a house that the family owned in London until it was torn down in the 1920’s, and the then-owner had all of the wood-work and fireplaces removed and numbered and stored in the attics at Chatsworth. An early architectural salvage operation!chatsworth 7 There are several pieces that are discussed in some detail, including this incredible cabinet. It’s made from pieces of wood branches that have been sawn into sections. chatsworth 2 The inside even more fabulous!chatsworth1 There are myriad door frames, chatsworth 5 from a room like this,chatsworth 3fragments of sculpture, chatsworth 6 and 19,996 other pieces.

To view the video, please click here. All pictures are screen-grabs from the video.

September 20, 2010

Pigtown Pop-Up Flea @ Housewerks on Saturday!

The date is almost upon us for the Pigtown Pop-Up @ Housewerks!   It’s this coming Saturday, September 25th, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Pigtown_Pop-Up_@_Housewerks_thumb[4] We’ve gathered some of our friends who are decorators, designers, antiquers and collectors and asked them to join us in this “curated” flea market.

The flea will be held on the grounds of Housewerks in Baltimore.  There is ample parking there. Click on the link to Housewerks for directions. HousewerksThere will be lots of amazing, one-of-a-kind goods on offer, including English cutlery, china, glassware, fabrics, tins, platters, linens and books… and that’s just what I am selling!  The other vendors will be selling similar items, plus a lot more.

8-16 009 Knives 007
linens 020 8-16 017

We hope that you’ll be able to stop by Housewerks on Saturday, September 25th, between 10 and 2!  Spread the word, this is gonna be good!

See you there!

Toile de Baltimore, Almost Final!

After a lot of great input from some trusted advisors – and many thanks to you all – we’ve finally come up with the semi-final design for the Toile de Baltimore. This is where I started:maryland_toile_blue_copy

Then I took it to this:Homewood_sectionI decided it needed one more building to balance it, and so I had to think of an iconic building in Baltimore that would touch another aspect of the city. After attending a baseball game one evening I came up with… No, not the trend-setting Camden Yards, but the B&O Roundhouse, which you can see from the concourse of the ballpark.B&O roundhouse

The B&O Roundhouse is the largest 22-sided building in the US, which is a great trivia question. It’s also located in a different part of the city than the other three buildings. The history of the B&O Railroad parallels the building of the city of Baltimore and is interconnected with many of the prominent buildings here, including the glamorous Evergreen House. Evergreen_001 So, here’s the semi-final version of the Toile de Baltimore…


small section toile de baltimore The four buildings are Homewood HouseHomewood_009 The Patterson Park PagodaPatterson_Park_Pagoda Mount Vernon PlaceMount Vernon Place and the B&O Roundhouse.

Let me know your thoughts and suggestions. Your input has helped make this a great project.

September 19, 2010


As if getting a chance to win a first edition of Billy Baldwin Remembers isn’t great enough, there’s more! 

James Archer Abbott, the marvelous curator at Evergreen house, where the Billy Baldwin Symposium is being held, is adding a copy of the catalogue from the exhibition that’s been there for the last four months. BB@Evergreen 032 You may enter the give-away either here or on the original post, here. Please tell us which designer working today is the heir to Baldwin’s classic style.