November 30, 2010

Last Call for Holiday Shop Hop!

A few people have mentioned to me how excited they are about the Holiday Shop Hop on Saturday, but it’s actually FRIDAY, December 3rd!shopping bag

I have had two people drop from the tour due to family emergencies, so if you’re interested, there’s still room. The line up for the tour is:

  • 9:00 – Meet at Housewerks Architectural Antiques, where we will have coffee and wonderful French pasties from Bonaparte Breads in Fells Point.
  • 10:00 – Head to McLain Wiesand to see David’s amazing artisan furniture and his selection of antiques and vintage pieces. On the last tour, someone bought a great little velvet camelback settee.
  • 11:00 – Red Tree, a unique shop in the little “village” of Hampden. Red Tree’s two floors of one-of-a-kind accessories, jewelry and furniture are such fun.
  • 12:00 – Lunch. Still undecided where to take you. It will depend on the weather. No worries, we’re not eating outside.
  • 1:15 – Turnover Shop – Antique silver, dish and glassware, furniture and more, consigned from Baltimore’s finest homes.
  • 2:15 – Gore-Dean – Curated selection of some of the most fabulous home accessories.
  • 3:00 – Back downtown and to Mount Clare for their Christmas and Greens Sale.

As a bonus, if there’s time, we can head to DeBois to check out their selection of high-end fabrics at low-down prices! (haha! I just made that up…). DeBois, Mount Clare and Housewerks are all within a quarter of a mile of each other.

There will be a few mini-vans and if we car pool, it will be a lot easier to keep together for parking.

Please e-mail me if you need details. I hope to see you on Friday!

Paper Doll House DONE!

I few months ago, I agreed to decorate a dollhouse for an auction to benefit Evergreen House in Baltimore, which is one of my favourite places in town. After much deliberation and lots of cough medicine, I decided on a Paper Doll House.

I decided that all of the pieces in the house and decorating the house would be made out of paper. I would find images on line, download them, photoshop them and print them out. With my trusty glue sticks, I’d attach them to the wooden doll house, et voila! I’d be finished.glue stickWell, the reality was not quite that simple. I spent hours finding the right images, ones that had the right perspective, no clutter in the background and that fit the period of the house.

Once I found and downloaded them, I had to scale them to fit the size of the house. Then I printed them, and spent ages cutting them out, making sure that there none of those pesky white edges showing.

I did have a bit of a meltdown when I saw a picture of my amazing friend David’s house. evergreen-dollhouse I took to bed with a bottle of gin and sulked for a while. But then I realized that David’s an artist and craftsman, and I just have a glue stick, so it’s not really comparable. Check out his blog with some pictures of the house and more of his amazing works.

So, I got back to work and at 2:00 this morning, I finished it, and delivered the Paper Doll House to Evergreen just before the rain started. paper doll house 005 The room on the left is the main hall/reception room. I forgot to take a picture of the fireplace that’s on the right wall head on, but you can see it below. The house is made to be looked at from a perspective of someone standing looking down at it, so when you’re looking directly, it’s a little off. That’s me and my faithful dog and the pictures are of my old dog, Frank, my grandmother and my niece.paper doll house 001 The library is next and has a wall of books, two comfortable chairs, the Toile de Baltimore wallcovering and the infamous Turgot Plan de Paris on some linen-fold wood walls. paper doll house 003The bedroom has a canopy bed and large dresser. The pictures are a Chinoiserie pattern and a field of black-eyed susans, the walls are gold paper and the ceiling is blue and white tiles. The rug is Aubusson. paper doll house 004The attic has rough wood floors and some old rolled up rugs.

The outside of the house is brick with Georgian details, paper doll house 007 and some boxwood topiaries.

paper doll house 008 paper doll house 012

I did get a peek at the other entries this morning and they are spectacular. I think that Evergreen is having pictures taken of all of the houses, so when they do, I will share them with you. Just promise me that you won’t laugh too hard at mine!

November 28, 2010

Jake’s Place

My real estate agent, Jake, is a man of many talents. We have known each other since high school, when all of the girls had crushes on him and he gave the most fun “field” parties. Fast forward a number of years, and Jake is still a master party planner, as well as a real estate agent and floral designer… oh, and a fabulous host of yard sales (see here and here).5-27 009

The local paper had a great feature about how Jake decorates for the holidays and I thought I’d share some of the images and copy from the article with you.

"More is more," says Boone, while strolling through his three-bedroom, three-bath house, filled with antiques and estate sale finds, traditional furnishings and global art.Sun1 For starters, a bronze French chandelier in the dining room is draped with some 350 shimmering ornaments in amethyst and chartreuse hues.SUn2Nearby, on a sideboard, twin brushed gold metal "ribbon" trees — each 6 feet tall — are accented with a thick cuff of hydrangea, artichoke and jewel-encrusted grapes.Sun3Silver champagne buckets are filled with roses in crimson and purple, while slender 32-inch tapers rest on the mantel of a marble fireplace.sun5 Over a period of weeks beginning around mid-November, he begins to execute his grand holiday vision.Sun4Unabashedly extravagant? Yes. "But always tasteful," Boone says.sun7

That’s Jake – always tasteful!

November 26, 2010

Small Business Saturday – Go BUY Something!

I support small businesses as often as I can, and I often feature them on Pigtown*Design. It’s so important to the fabric of our country (and others), that small business survive and thrive.


1. For every $100 spent at local small businesses, $68 returns to the community.

2. Small businesses employ half of all private sector employees.

3. Small businesses represent 99.7% of all employer firms.

4. For every year over the last decade, 60-80% of new jobs were generated by small businesses.

Here are some of my local small businesses that I support and promote.

Halcyon House Antiques – for the most exquisite pieces for your home, located in a gorgeous country setting.12-12 073 Housewerks Architectural Antiques + Salvage – one of a kind pieces salvaged from old buildings, churches and homes, located in a Victorian-era gas works.5-30 041 McLain-Wiesand – Custom-made furniture and selected antiques, located in Mt. Vernon in a working studio.McLain 002 Gore-Dean – Sophisticated selection of unique pieces in a museum-like setting.11-11 016 There are hundreds and hundreds of small businesses that need your support. They depend on this time of year to make it. So please consider supporting your local merchants so that they can support your community!

November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving Day in the US, and I wish a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends in the States. Happy Turkey Day! And to everyone else, have a great Thursday!

The Who That I Knew

If you had ever told me that I would be a devoted fan of a science fiction TV show, I would have asked what drugs you were on and if you’d possibly consider sharing them with me.

But when I lived in Cardiff, Wales, the BBC shot the sci-fi show Dr. Who in my back yard – literally. who12 They shot at the abandoned Victorian-era hospital across from our house, as well as up and down our street and all through our neighbourhood. In fact, my car even appears in one episode (Cybermen, Part II).  They also filmed on the beach that I frequented near the school where I worked. Badwolf Bay Aka Dårlig Ulv StrandenToday, I got word that they even filmed an episode at Atlantic College’s St. Donat’s Castle, which was my workplace for the better part of a year. I raced to the computer to see if I could find some video of the episode and was rewarded with a long clip.

The primary filming was in the school’s amazing dining room.who2 dining room This room was liberated from a French chateau by the former owner of the castle, one Wm. Randolph Hearst. He expanded the castle by more than double.     dining room ceilingThe entire student body and faculty and staff assembled here every day for lunch. The food was ghastly.dining hall ceilingThis is another view of the dining room.who8

The second scene was filmed in the former dungeon, which is the current ladies room.who4 Each cell was a private loo.  girls looMost unfortunately, the dungeon didn’t have any heat when there were prisoners in residence, and it still doesn’t. who1There was also a scene where The Doctor is going in to the courtyard. who3 Here’s what it usually looks like. I had to walk across this every morning to get to my office.courtyardHere are a few more pictures of the campus. This is Bradenstoke Hall, which was just sort of slapped onto the side of the original castle.Atlanticcollege9Here is is from the outside. 800px-Atlanticcollege1 This is the ceiling with its original wood beams which were numbered and reassembled.bradenstoke ceiling I had to walk through the Portcullis on the way from the parking lot into the court yard, though several rooms, up two flights of stairs and into the tower where my office was.who7 This was my favourite view – looking over the Bristol Channel to England, about 15 miles away. I have a framed copy of this in my house.Atlanticcollege12The workmanship in this building is just amazing. Simply extraordinary.  I am so lucky to have had the chance to work in a place like this. It was a very special time.

November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Traditions

I have spent Thanksgiving in London, in Paris, and on Martha’s Vineyard, as well as at home with my family in Baltimore. I always remember certain traditions that are carried from year to year and place to place.

One of my favourite traditions is cranberry relish for the turkey. My mother always made a wonderful cranberry and orange relish and it was always stored in a funny square glass jar with lattice-work on the sides. Cranberry-Orange-Relish-360 The recipe is so simple, even I can make it, and best of all, no cooking.

Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish

1 (12-ounce) package cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 unpeeled orange, cut into eighths and seeded
3/4 to 1 cup granulated sugar

Place half the cranberries and half the orange slices in food processor container. Process until mixture is evenly chopped. (You can also do this in a food mill.) Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining cranberries and orange slices. Stir in sugar. Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Makes about 3 cups.

Note: Prepare ahead of time to let the flavours mix. You can also add chopped apples or a slug of Gran Marnier.

What are the traditions that you and your family carry on from year to year?

November 21, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion!

I have just added a whole range of items to my Etsy Shop and with the holidays fast upon us, I thought you might like to do a little shopping there, instead of braving the mall next week.

Since Nate Berkus has decided to title me “Treasure Hunter”, I’ve been busy treasure hunting so that you don’t have to! I am willing to make the sacrifice of picking through dusty bins and checking out the hidden treasures just for you. {grin}

Seriously though… I have found some really fun items for you, like this classic blue and white transfer-ware casserole dish or soup tureen. It’s a sweet piece with great lines. 11-21 002Your bar cart would get a classical boost with this vintage Penguin Ice Bucket from West Bend. It has Bakelite handles on the sides and on the lid. There are funny little penguins marching around this ice bucket, probably searching for their cocktails. 11-21 044 Doesn’t everyone want life delivered up on a silver platter? This one is huge – 20 inches from tip to tip. It has a Gothic font “S” monogram in the center and weighs a ton. It’s marked on the back with a hallmark from Sheffield, England and probably dates from the early 1900s. 11-21 007

These were my favourite thing that I put up for sale. They’re wonderful candleholders with wee cherubs holding a torch and a laurel wreath. I even got a great picture of one. 11-19 042 But here’s what they both look like. Sorry, they’ve already sold.11-19 033Enough of this… Go check out my shop. There’s plenty there for everyone and I am adding more and more each day, including several sets of the fabulous French Ivory knives and forks, including a set with either an M or a W monogram.10-27 031 Oh, just one more thing… If you’d like to join me on the Holiday Shop Hop, drop me an e-mail. I am limiting the group to about 15 people, and we’re getting close to that number. Any more than that, it’s too hard to manage and I don’t get a chance to get to know everyone.

November 18, 2010

On the Street Where I {Want to} Live

I love this time of year, because just after dusk, lights are on and curtains are still open, and you can have a peek into some incredible places.

I had a board meeting earlier this evening, and as I was walking from the car to the residence where the meeting was, I literally stopped in my tracks looking at an amazing house. I had remembered seeing it earlier in the year when I was at a party across the street. Maryland Club 033 The owners used to keep the shutters closed so people {like me} couldn’t peek in, but apparently, now they’re leaving them open. Because the architecture in this house is not to be missed.11-18 003 There is a massive glass vase in front and center of each of the huge windows, somewhat obscuring the view, but you can still get a glimpse of the ornate ceiling. 11-18 005 There’s really only so much snooping you can do without crossing that fine line into trespassing, so I could only snap a few pictures.11-18 006 Believe me, I am going back to check out that house again to see if I can get some information about it, and take more pictures.

It didn’t really matter too much that I couldn’t get in this house, because I was headed to another one on the same block which was incredible in its own way. How about this room with two amazing fireplaces?

11-18 014 11-18 013

And when you’ve finished gazing at those lovelies, check out this one.11-18 015 Beautiful dining room with a flannel grey paint on the walls. The ceiling is about six feet lower in this room, so it gives a feeling of intimacy. But check out these fabulous leaded glass windows, which make a little conservatory in the room.11-18 020 It’s a little bay with the clear leaded glass on the windows on the walls and then ones on the ceiling. The patterns in the glass diffuse the light.

The owner is an architect, so there are wonderful details all around, like this pantry, where I covet the cabinets.11-18 016 Of course, each room has the perfect lighting. Period pieces abound, including this stunner from Paris, by way of South America.11-18 023 11-18 026 In the center of this light, there’s a bowl with crystals in it, with a light inside, which shines out. It’s really such a unique piece… and I mean that in a good way.

While the front hall is quite simple, it’s not without its own charms.11-18 025 11-18 029I felt very lucky to be able to see inside this wonderful home, which the owners have pulled back from the brink of severe tackiness and trashy apartmentness.