September 30, 2009

Think Pink 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so a group of bloggers, lead by the incredible Mrs. Blandings, have banded together to raise awareness of the issue. If you click here, you will be able to help a low-income woman get a breast cancer screening.

Now on to the fun stuff! I love pink and when I look through the pictures on my computer, I see a lot of pink popping up. Here are some pictures I found on my hard-drive.

Cosmos7-14 039 Dahlia8-31 031 I have no idea what these are, but they were in the garden where my mother lives. 9-21 051I think this is bergamot.9-21 061Clover11-9 032  Peonies, my favourites!peonies 019Remember, if you’re a woman, get a mammogram, and if you’re a man, make a contribution to the cause.


September 29, 2009

I’ll Take This… Manor in the Cotswolds

By now, you know of my love of searching through the Guardian’s photo galleries. I’ve found some fun things, such as the family of elephant topiaries, the huge sculptures at Chatsworth House and these lovely and unusual memorials.

Today, I found another great house, which is as different from the blue house I posted about the other day, as chalk and cheese. blaisdon It’s located in Gloucestershire, in the heart of the Cotswolds and dates from the 1700’s. blaisdon 2 It would be a great place for a country house weekend with 11 bedrooms, a ballroom, drawing rooms, blaisdon 4 an orangery and a billiard room and bar! The craftsmanship in this house is incredible. blaisdon 3 It also has a three-bedroom coach house and a turret.blaisdon 5

The price is a bit steep at £4,750,000, but if we all pitch in, I think we can afford it.blaisdon 6 Are you in?

September 28, 2009

More Hampton Mansion

I took more than 70 pictures at Hampton on Saturday and thought I’d share some of the details of the property with you.

These shades in the parlour were hand-painted with gardens, music and art. The original linen painted shades are still at the house, but they’re too fragile to be displayed.

hampton 005 This silver is probably either Stieff or Kirk, two noted Baltimore silversmiths, both of which no longer exist. hampton 003This parlour was decorated and then re-decorated two years later after the mistress of the house came back from Paris and thought that her design was out of style. Note the three adjacent mirrors.hampton 019This is the master bedroom and it’s spectacular. The fireplace surround is just gorgeous! I love the spyglass looking out over the property.hampton 032The detail on this railing is repeated on the front and back porch on the second floor. It’s stunning. hampton 036This is one of my favourite pictures. I love all of the angles of the roof-lines and the urn. hampton 043Some of the trees on the property are more than 100 years old, and there is a huge variety of them.

The floors on the two main porches are black and white marble, probably mined in the county. It’s so interesting that there are glass windows on either side of the porch. hampton 064 If you’re ever in Baltimore and have a few hours to spare, visit this incredible house!

September 27, 2009

Historic House Tour: Hampton Mansion

Fellow blogger, JCB, has arranged a series of house tours throughout the area over the last few years, and I’ve been fortunate to be invited along. I’ve joined her and her group at Evergreen and Homewood, both in Baltimore.

This weekend, fellow bloggers JCB, Architect Design and Michael Hampton, as well as another friend, took a tour of the incredible Hampton Mansion, for 200 years home of the Ridgely family and now a National Park property. The property originally consisted of more than 25,000 acres of rolling hills and fertile fields north of Baltimore, with a house measuring 24,000 square feet, the largest Georgian-style residence in the States.

hampton 055There are a number of buildings on the property including the main house, stables, an orangery, a smokehouse, a farmhouse and slave quarters. The family were the ultimate packrats and kept everything they ever had! There are more than 40,000 artifacts at the house and more than 100,000 archival papers. The house remained in the same family until the early 1930’s when it was sold to the Mellon Foundation to raise the money for back taxes. They kept it for 24 hours before turning it over to the National Park System, which ignored it for many years. hampton 010The property is the story of an American family over 200 years from the beginning of the country, though the “War of Northern Aggression” during which life changed for the family, and up through the Depression when they raised chickens in the living room to get money for gas for their cars. In fact, my mother was just telling me that my uncle was friends with one of the family members and they didn’t have any money, just the house.hampton 038The ceilings on the first two floors are 14 feet high and the third floor ceilings are eight feet. The house two hyphens and two wings, one of which, unusually, included the kitchen. Of course, the family had several strata of servants and slaves to keep the house running. All of their slaves were freed after the Civil War and that was when the family’s decline began in earnest.hampton 014The details on the house are spectacular. Broken pediments above many of the interior windows, hampton 015 beautiful detailing on the dormer windows, incredible fireplace surrounds,

hampton 024 hampton 026

and beautiful dentil work and moldings everywhere.hampton 039Here are some more images: The center section of the house from the back, with the urns on every corner and the cupola just showing.  hampton 045

Some of the parterred gardens.hampton 047The house from the front drive. hampton 051Two stone barns, which look like the cottages in the French country-side which I wrote about a few months ago.  We all agreed that these would make a nice place to live!hampton 054 The family’s symbol was a deer, which was prominent throughout the house in the curtain tie-backs, hampton 012 the stained glass over the front door hampton 022 and several other places.

There were marble statues hampton 021 and urns strategically placed around the house for maximum photo opportunities.hampton 063 All in all, it was a great day out with some old and new blogger friends!tres bloggersThanks for setting this up, JCB!

Billy Baldwin Decorates

After a fun tour of Hampton Mansion yesterday with fellow bloggers, Architect Design, JCB and Michael Hampton(and our other non-blog friend Michael), we headed to the Book Thing to drop off and pick up books. Between four of us, we got more than 50 books!
As soon as I walked in the door, I headed to the decoration section and there, with a faint glow surrounding it, was a near perfect copy of Billy Baldwin Decorates! bbaldwin I hadn’t even been at the BT for seven seconds when I got it. I never go to BT on a Saturday, but since this was part of the day’s entertainment, we went.
I am a huge fan of fellow Baltimorean, and have written about him here, and here. Baldwin 011 I found a signed copy of his book, Billy Baldwin Remembers a few months ago, so finding Decorates is a coup! Of course, I haven’t had time to read it yet, but the Peak of Chic did a review of it a few years ago, here.
Check back for some pictures of our Historic House Tour of Hampton Mansion outside of Baltimore.

September 26, 2009

Treasure Hunt: Part 2

About 10 years ago, a friend asked me to help set up an architectural salvage non-profit. We got the non-profit status pretty quickly and then spent the next year or two gathering inventory. We’d go into buildings that were about to be torn down and take the interesting elements out of them. We opened to the public on a dismal February morning and had more than 600 people come through our warehouses. 9-25 048

When I returned from the UK, the philosophy of the place had changed dramatically, so I severed all ties to it, and I haven’t been back. Until yesterday. 9-25 042Since it’s just a few blocks from Housewerks, we headed over to Second Chance to check it out. About a quarter of the space is dedicated to architectural salvage and hardware, while the rest is consigned furniture, artwork, lighting, china, glass and window treatments. 9-25 068Some things are very nice, but others are quite hideous. We had to laugh to see these faux painted sinks and counters. There were several of these scattered around the warehouse. 9-25 065There are several warehouses in this compound, including one with kitchen and bathroom components. You could spend an entire day walking through the warehouses and still not see everything.   9-25 075

This is an old fireplace surround rescued from a local university’s renovation job.9-25 083I love the nautilus shell back of this iron garden furniture.9-25 084There are shelves of claw feet from old bathtubs. We would flip these and mount them on a wall as candle sconces.9-25 045This was from one of the first big jobs we did. It was the cornerstone of an arch over a large decorative door. We used here as our logo on all of our early marketing materials. She was my girl. 9-25 043

September 25, 2009

Treasure Hunting

Michele from My Notting Hill and her friend Anne came up to Baltimore to join me at the McLain Wiesand Warehouse sale, which was a huge success. Great pieces and even greater prices! 9-25 007I was excited to be able to see some of David’s craftsmen/women at work, just like the elves in Santa’s workshop. Here one of them applies gold leaf to curtain rings. She’s got it down to an art!9-25 011After we left McLain Wiesand, we headed down to Housewerks. They’ve just gotten some of the props from the Baltimore Opera Company which are terrific.   9-25 025Lots and lots of letters, including the orange ones above and these fun metal ones. 9-25 016Part of the fun is finding letters and spelling out little messages.

9-25 07 9-25 08

We all loved this bench and its vaguely Chinoiserie vibe.9-25 036Here’s Anne checking out some of the marble samples.9-25 035Tomorrow, I will show you our next stop!