October 29, 2010


We’re having a Halloween Party and I just had not a moment of spare time to decide what to be, so I zipped over to my friends at DeBois Textiles and found an amazing caftan and hat, which made me decide to be the Sultana of Megistan.

It’s one of those tiny countries that only appears on maps of a certain age.megistan It has a unique culture, similar to one of those former English colonies, where they continue the colonial way of life. Tea in the afternoon, the old spellings of words and an affinity for all things British.

While I was at DeBois, I noticed that they have a lot of fabulous new fabrics in stock, including some of the newly-released Lilly ones. I snagged this picture from Jamie at I Suwanee, Lily by Jamie Meares from I Suwanee who took it at the recent High Point show. The fabric in the background is called Tail Lights and is somewhat Chinoiserie in feeling. I have it in a gorgeous green!

If you’re in Baltimore and you still need something to wear for Halloween, go on over to DeBois and tell’em I sent you… all the way from Megistan.

October 28, 2010

Bunny Williams’ Scrapbook for Living

I was invited to a book signing on Monday at John Rosselli Antiques in New York, but I am heart-broken that I can’t go. John’s wife Bunny Williams has written a new book, Scrapbook for Living, and like her previous books, Point of View, On Garden Style and An Affair with a House, I am sure that this book will be spectacular.Bunny-Williams ScrapbookI had a chance to meet Ms. Williams earlier this month at Rosselli during Alexa Hampton’s book signing, and she was just a marvelous woman. So warm and friendly and very charming, but I would not expect anything else from a woman with such incredible taste. Ladew 018 Click here for a preview of Scrapbook for Living, and then, like me, go order it!

October 27, 2010

I am SO Confused!

Seriously, it’s October 27th and the temperature at 10:02 p.m. is 70*! The humidity is about 80% and it feels like early September. 1D 081Now, I am not really complaining, since my utility bill was in the double digits last month, but what do you wear in late October when it’s so warm? Do you dress for the date or the temperature? Halcyon 10-10 004I am so confused.

October 26, 2010

Nanjing Sofa

I was looking at the terrific blog/website, I Suwanee, written by Jamie Meares, the owner of Furbish Studio and a very funny and talented gal.

As I was scrolling through her pictures of the recent High Point Market, I was stopped dead in my tracks by this amazing image:Jamie Meares Nanjing Miles ReddIf I am reading right, it is a sofa by Miles Redd for Century, in Nanjing linen by Schumacher in Jade.  It’s really a statement piece.

I love the Schumacher Nanjing linen and have been making pillows from this great print all summer long.

5025 001 Nanjing front

Keep your eyes open for some more of these on my Etsy shop!

October 25, 2010


I wonder how many of these were made before someone realized that there was a spelling mistake. patheticJust pitiful.

October 24, 2010

What’s The Story?

First, thanks for all of the kind words that you sent after my second appearance on The Nate Berkus Show, and the lovely birthday wishes. I appreciate each and every message.

My friend, Lisa, sent me a story from the Guardian, called Anatomy of a Style: Vintage. It’s about a house furnished in vintage finds and treasures. It is clear that the owner of the house, a set designer in London, has collected the pieces over the years.Anatomy-of-style-001She could probably tell you a story about almost each and every piece that she has in her house.  As she found different items, she added them one at a time, bit by bit, until the house became what it is today. Each piece contains a memory. She brought the tiles behind the sink back from a trip to India, and collected the scuffed mirrors. It is a deeply personal space.Anatomy-of-style-007 Following the article, the paper listed places that you could find similar things. That got me to thinking about this house, and then about my house and of course, your house.

Do the things in your house tell a story? Can you walk through the place and remember the time and place that you found certain items? If so, what will the story be?Anatomy-of-style-002There is nothing wrong with places like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, and the items they have on offer might be things that you love. But I think that there’s a huge difference between going to Pottery Barn and buying a piece of furniture, and hunting around around an old barn sale and buying a piece of furniture. You will remember that day and circumstance longer than you will remember a trip to the mall.

Do you have things in your house that tell a story? I hope you’ll share them!

October 21, 2010

Nate, Again!

I was on the Nate Berkus show again, but this time it was a little more serious. Meg   Nate 2 I worked with a family whose home is in foreclosure to help organize them so they can clear out the house and move on with their lives. We had an on-set yard sale to show people how to organize one.Meg   Nate A clip is here.  My ten tips for a terrific tag sale are here

October 20, 2010

A Pebble in The Pantheon

Pantheon (noun) the place of the heroes or idols of any group, individual, movement, party, etc., or the heroes or idols themselves: to earn a place in the pantheon of American design.pantheon For me, the pantheon where designers and decorators talk about their craft is The Skirted Roundtable, hosted by Linda Merrill of ::Surroundings::, Megan Arquette of Beach Bungalow 8, and Joni Webb of Cote de Texas. SRT_1_yr_anniversary copyThese three amazing ladies have made the Skirted Roundtable the go-to place for interviews with some of the leading lights in the profession.

In the past, they have had conversations with luminaries such as Charlotte Moss, Margaret Russell and Stephen Drucker, amongst many others. I was very honoured to be included in that amazing group when they interviewed me last week for the Skirted Roundtable.

It was such fun to chat with the gals, whom I already felt like I knew. They’re all so warm, gracious and fun! I am just a little pebble in the pantheon of design gods and goddesses, but thrilled to be included!  You can listen here.

October 19, 2010


How cool is this? It’s called Golden Hill Fort and is on the Isle of Wight in England.
FortHomeThis Victorian fort was built to counter possible attack from across the channel (aka France) but has now been converted into 18 luxury houses priced from £375,000 to £1m.  There is a communal garden on the top of the fort, with views across countryside to the Solent. The houses will have a very long leasehold - expected to be 999 years.fort beforeAmazingly, the building was converted into an industrial area and used until the 1980s, and then was abandoned.

October 18, 2010

Adam Lewis’s Billy Baldwin

Last weekend, I attended a symposium on hometown boy-made-good, Billy Baldwin, about whom I’ve written many times. BB Symposium The keynote speaker was Adam Lewis, whose book, Billy Baldwin: The Great American Decorator (2010, Rizzoli) will be published later this month. Billy-Baldwin-The-Great-American-DecoratorI was glued to my seat listening to Mr. Lewis speak about Billy Baldwin. Mr. Lewis has been working on this book for years and it was like putting a huge puzzle together, because there were so many facets to BB that were each seen by a few people.  He had his Baltimore side, which he outgrew fairly early, and then the New York Side, the Nantucket side, the Society side, the Gay-in-the-50s side and many others.

His latter years were not happy ones, with lots of friends dying in succession, mainly of lung cancer. I won’t give away the entire story, because you should buy the book, but there are myriad stories and tales, along with loads of lush and gorgeous pictures. baldwin roundup design sponge So many of the design pieces that we take for granted today are because of the amazing Billy Baldwin: The Great American Decorator.

Thanks to Mr. Lewis for writing this book which will become an instant must-have for any design devotee!

October 17, 2010

Back to the Land of the Living!

After a week of being sick as a dog, with an ear-ache, sinus issues and an eye cold, I am finally feeling much, much better, and am delighted!

This weekend has been quiet, although the Baltimore Marathon was in full swing, surrounding me and making it impossible to move through the city. 10-10 020 The race brings tons of excitement, racers and revenue to the city, so I am pleased that it is here. Congratulations to all who ran. I did see lots of people limping today.

I had a chance to go to a book party for a great new book on dogs, a subject near and dear to my heart. I am waiting for my copy to write about it, but it will be great. The party was hosted at Halcyon House Antiques, and the drive out there was just beautiful. Late fall afternoons are my favourite kind of light. Halcyon 10-10 002 The guys have re-arranged Halcyon House and brought in lots of new things, including these fabulous clear acrylic ballroom chairs. I’d love one as a desk chair. Halcyon 10-10 008 I fell in love with this great rug, which, when I examined it closely, was made of chain-stitching. Halcyon 10-10 026 I even saw some actual wild animals while I was at Halcyon House. Loads of deer coming through the woods…Halcyon 10-10 007 … and geese flying overhead. Halcyon 10-10 030 My next appearance on The Nate Berkus show will be airing on October 21st. This segment is a little more serious – helping a family move from their foreclosed house. It was tough to do, but I hope that my work will help them move to the next step in their lives.

I have another fun experience, with three chicks who are as much fun as Nate was… stay tuned!

October 16, 2010

My Bartender’s Secret

When I was on The Nate Berkus show earlier this week, I mentioned cleaning my copper with “my bartender’s secret” and I have gotten a number of questions about it. PopUp 014It’s not really a secret, it’s a friend -- Bar Keeper’s Friend, a great way to clean copper pots, pans and more. I like this because it seems to keep copper cleaner for longer than other products. Not only does BKF clean the tarnish off the copper, it also gets sudsy and makes a sheeting action, so that the copper doesn’t spot as easily.Copper 001Before I moved to Wales, I had more than 100 pieces of kitchen copper, and I used this on all of them. You can find this in some grocery stores in the cleaning section (look at the bottom shelves) or in old-style hardware stores.

As we move into fall, there’s nothing prettier on the table than some copper pieces.

October 14, 2010

Warhol at the BMA!

My friend Stiles is the chairman of the Board at the Baltimore Museum of Art, one of the most well-respected museums on the East Coast. Their Cone Collection of modern French Art is unparalleled anywhere in the world.ArtBMABeginning on October 17th, a retrospective of Andy Warhol’s last decade of work will be opening at the BMA and it looks like it will be MAJOR!   Andy-Warhol-Jackie-1964-181013As the catalogue says,

Highlights include psychologically revealing fright wig self-portraits, three variations on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and collaborations with younger artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat that reveal the dramatic transformation of Warhol’s artistic style. He introduces new techniques, reengages in the physical act of art making, and explores painting in a culture awash with commercial and photographic imagery. Through these works, several not exhibited until after the artist's death, Warhol continually asks viewers to contemplate celebrity (including his own), glamour, and death in the contemporary era.

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade is a special ticketed exhibition, with a complimentary audio tour included with your ticket. Tickets go on sale September 15, 2010.  warhol1 General admission to the BMA's collection is free to everyone—every day!

October 13, 2010

A Happy Ending

Along with the rest of the world, I am giving thanks that each of the 33 Chilean miners were freed from their confinement underground for more than two months. This is a story with many heroes and it is to many people’s great credit that these men survived this ordeal. waitingThe Guardian has a slide show of each of the miners, their role underground and their immediate reaction upon returning to the earth’s surface. Click here to view.

As I lay in bed last night, listening to the BBC’s coverage, I was in tears hearing the story of Mario SepĂșlveda, the second miner to come to the surface. Mario SepĂșlveda He brought with him small pebbles from the cave as presents for his wife, the President of Chile and some of the rescuers. What an extraordinary person he must be to think of others at such a time.

Small gestures can be enormous.

October 12, 2010

I Got Nothing!

Well, nothing but a cold and sinus and ear infection. I am so lucky that my doctor is both a great physician and a good friend, and he sees me instantly when I call. He knows that I have a super high tolerance for pain and if I do come see him, it’s bad.

But to push that ghastly image out of your mind, here are some pretty things I’ve seen over the past few weeks. I could spend weeks walking around NYC shooting pix of the incredible architectural details.NYC 015 NYC 013 NYC 016 NYC 024

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I also love the vignettes of daily life you see as you walk the streets. NYC 032 This old gal had a bag that said “shoe-gasm”, which was quite the contradiction to her appearance!NYC 035 FYI, I stayed at The Lucerne Hotel on both trips. It’s on 79th & Amsterdam on the Upper West Side. It was delightful and the rooms were lovely. The restaurant, Nice Matin, served great French food. I recommend it.

October 11, 2010

Thanks & Updates!

First, thanks so much to everyone who left a comment about The Nate Berkus Show! It was very exciting to appear on the show, especially for that amount of time.  Here are two clips from the show. One is me talking about my Rule of Three and in the other, I am talking about my favourite findsNB ShowI have to say thank you to Nate and his production crew and stage crew who could not have been nicer to me and made me feel so comfortable. Nate’s a good guy and surrounds himself with like-minded people.

Thanks also to my friend Tracey, who came to NYC with me as my sherpa! HousewerksWe had so many things with us that we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies arriving in New York. Tracey owns Housewerks, where we had the Tasteful Tag Sale Flea Market.  She’s the one grinning on the right. I was so glad that she came along with me! 

The Tours de Baltimore that were scheduled for this Friday and Saturday have been postponed. I am so sorry for the late notice. I have come down with a wicked cold and have a major project due on Friday, so I must be at the office to complete this and turn it in. 10-10 016 Saturday is the running of the Baltimore Marathon, and the traffic is going to be horrific. I am going to look at some dates in mid-November, possibly Thanksgiving weekend. Any thoughts?

The Billy Baldwin lecture on Saturday was incredible, and I will write about it later this week. I had a chance to chat with Adam Lewis, the author of the new BB book, and now I am even more excited to read it.

October 10, 2010

Check your local listings

I’ve gotten a lot of requests asking when the Nate Berkus Show airs. It really depends on your market. Just click on the link (here) to the Nate Show, and you’ll see the time and channel the show airs where you live. nateb2I will be guest blogging over at Nate’s Show on Monday and talking about some of my hints and tips for finding great things at yard sales, thrift shops and on Craigslist.

October 8, 2010

My National TV Debut*

If you’ve been reading, you may have gathered that I’ve been in New York City on and off over the past two weeks. I can finally reveal my big secret!

I was asked to film a few segments of The Nate Berkus Show! As you may know, Nate was Oprah’s decorator and for the past six years, he’s been the on-show, in-house decorator, solving viewers’ design problems and giving tips and hints on designing your own space.meg & nateBut one of the things that Nate loves to do is scour flea markets around the country finding unique things for his clients.  Wow! I like doing that, too. So, Nate’s show called and sent down a camera crew to film our Pigtown Pop-Up Flea a few weeks ago.Nelle at Stone Hill Farm5The show gave me the challenge to buy some treasures for $100 and see how I could parlay that into more money. I managed to do pretty well, with a copper stock pot purchased for $15 and currently for sale at a “major kitchen store” for $400.  On-line, I found one fork for $23, identical to the four on the bottom left that I bought for $5.00.  These are the shots before I cleaned the items.

PopUp 018 PopUp 013
Cocktail forks Colonial Candlestick

Late Monday, my terrific friend Tracey, who is one of the owners of Housewerks, where we had the Flea, and I took off to NYC looking a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies with a car filled with treasures. 

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22-8 033 9-17 015

Tuesday was a day of shooting the show, with full hair, make-up and posh car service followed. It was nerve-wracking, but Nate’s incredible production staff and stage crew were more than kind to me and made sure I got through filming without a hitch.

What was originally intended to be one five-minute segment, morphed into about 13 minutes once Nate saw what we were bringing. Nate! They interspersed the video they’d shot with the on-set segments and wove it all together to tell the story of the “Junk Whisperer” (with apologies to my friend, Christian May at Maison 21 who came up with the term).  It was such a success that I’ve been back to shoot another segment already.

The first segment that I am in will air on Monday, October 11th. Check your local listings for time, or click here to see when it’s on. You can watch the promo video here.

*If you don’t count the time I was on Captain Kangaroo when I was four.