July 31, 2011

Stemmer House: A Rare Sale

For nearly 40 years, an old family friend has lived on an extraordinary property just outside of Baltimore – Stemmer House  – but now it’s time for it to be sold. Both the woman and the property are quite amazing. stemmer1The house was originally built in the 1700’s, twenty-five or more miles from where it’s located today. stemmer4 In the 1930’s, the house was dissembled and each brick was numbered so when the house was rebuilt, everything would be in its proper place. The owners who had moved the house never lived in it, and it was given to their daughter, who sold it to our friend almost 40 years ago.stemmer2 stemmer3During that time, the owner has created the most incredible gardens – everything from water lily and swan ponds to shade gardens to Asian gardens to formal gardens. stemmer11 She’s done most of the work herself, working in the heat of summer and the cold of winter to achieve her vision. The grounds are populated with swans and peacocks, as well as horses. stemmer15 The house’s interiors are a testament to the owner’s love of travel and her range of interests – including gourmet cooking of the highest order! The kitchen includes some fabulous antiques, as well as a massive Aga cooker. stemmer6 The living rooms are a mix of pieces that she’s collected on her travels, as well as artwork spanning several centuries. stemmer9The wall-covering in the center hallway looks like it could be DeGournay, Zuber or Gracie. It’s stunning. The peacock feathers in the Chinoiserie urn are from the peacocks on the property. My mother has some of the feathers from these birds, too.stemmer7 And the paper in the upper hallway is subtle, yet striking and modern. stemmer8 The bedrooms are charming and cozy with fireplaces to warm them on a chilly night.stemmer10This family’s previous house was an old church, and they have the steeple from that property as a garden folly at this estate. stemmer14 This amazing house and the surrounding grounds will be auctioned on Wednesday, August 2nd. Details are here. stemmer13I have such admiration for the owner of this house and how she’s transformed the gardens into a showplace for herself and her friends and family. I know how difficult the decision to let this property go must have been for her. stemmer12 Isn’t this place amazing?

July 28, 2011

Three Day Tent Sale @ Sloans & Kenyon in DC

Are you a little freaked out by auctions? Do you think that if you rub your ear or sneeze, you might end up bidding on a priceless antique?

Well, Sloans & Kenyon Auctionseers just along the DC/Maryland border, is having a tent sale instead of an auction for the next three days! It’s going to be great, with new items added every day.

Friday, July 29: 10am - 5 pm
Saturday, July 30: 10 am - 3 pm
Sunday, July 31: 1 - 4 pm
An Avalanche of Personal Property
Attractively Priced for Immediate Purchase
Outdoors in the Sloans & Kenyon Parking Lot
Adjacent to Eastham's Exxon - 7100 block Woodmont Avenue
S&K4Four Complete Estates!
Antique and Other Furniture *
Ladies' Designer Clothing (including this beautiful Hermès blouse)S&K1Men's Classic Clothing and Shoes * Including Polo and Brooks BrothersS&K5 Sterling Silver * Porcelain * PaintingsS&K3Jewelry * Box lots of Miscellanea (that coffee pot has my name all over it!!!)S&K6 And Much, Much More!

My friend, ILOVELIMEGREEN works at S&K and was kind enough to send me some images of what’s on offer.  I’ve got my strategy planned out… including a fail-safe way to make sure I don’t buy too much! 

Remember, the sale is all weekend and you’re sure to find a treasure! I’ve been to their auctions before and it’s been worth it to attend!

John Rosselli in Elle Decor On-Line

There’s a fabulous piece about the even more fabulous John Rosselli and his thoughts on collections and collecting in Elle Decor on-line. Click here to read it.john-rosselli-interior-design-ed0711-01I had the chance to meet Mr. Rosselli last fall when I was in NYC and attend a party for Alexa Hampton’s new book at the showroom. john-rosselli-interior-design-ed0711-03 The showrooms are filled to the brim with the most excellent specimen of each piece – the very best blue and white china, Alexa_007[2] the most beautiful antiques,Alexa_004[5] simply the tops of everything. 

Take a few minutes and read about this fascinating and charming man and his thoughts on collecting. There are some excellent suggestions! Here.

Eye Candy

Just wandering around the internets and found some things that caught my eyes.

Rothschild & Bickers’   A new take on old Victorian, from here.

shower-curtains-1101 Venetian shower curtain from here.

lamp-shades-1832 Maybe this is what I need over my work table. Here.

parasols-2851 Something for sitting under in the garden.

beach A few days at the beach… maybe later this summer.

July 26, 2011

The Atelier and The Chair

Well, I accomplished two things over the last day or so.  Over the weekend I had purchased a six-foot long Ikea table-top and legs and another shelf unit. I moved the table so it makes an L with the table that I already had. That gives me a huge work-space, so I can cut fabrics, lay things out, photograph items for the Etsy shop, and really spread out. chair 002 I need to work on the lighting situation for that room. There’s a ghastly center ceiling light, but I need more task lighting over the long table. I do have an old steel pendant lamp, which would really illuminate the space. I just have to figure out how to hang it. steel lampI also have a new chair (thanks Suzy!) for the workroom, but it just hasn’t made it upstairs yet. Since the floors and the house are so old, this room slopes downhill a bit, and I’ve almost missed the wheeled chair a few times as it’s rolled away! It’s a clear Louis Ghost Chair, and it will be perfect for the space!chair 005 I tucked the second set of shelves onto the corner, and it fits perfectly. Things are kind of junked on there right now, until I get it into better order. I had to move a couple of the embroidery hoops to make room.

I finally finished the chair this evening. I am not wild about it, but it will do for now… you know, not Mr. Right, but Mr. Right Now!  I made a shorter skirt with box pleats at each of the front corners. I didn’t have enough fabric to do it at the back corners, and since it’s open at the back, it was a bit busy. chair 006 The fabric needs to relax a little, and hopefully with time, it will! I like the legs painted cream rather than the dark brown that they were before. The hardest thing was matching up the print on each section of the chair and the skirt!

Here’s the chair in situ, along with the citrine silk curtains I hung in the guest room, and the ancient kilim rug. chair 009 Not that you can tell, but the walls in the guest room are the same pale blue as the first floor in my house.

Two more things to cross off my even expanding list! Whew!

I’ll Take This… Wee Castle in Scotland

There’s nothing better than a personal-size castle! Not something massive like Windsor Castle, which covers vast numbers of acres, but a warm and cozy castle like this one… Teaninich Castle in the charmingly named Easter Ross, Scotland. easter ross1Here’s what the estate agents have to say about this castle:

Teaninich Castle is a handsome and impressive property with a symmetrical three storey frontage with hood molded windows, crenellated porch and small bartizans at the battlement wall head. The castle has been modernized to a good standard whilst retaining most of its original features. 

Dating from 1734, the castle was formerly the seat of the Munros of Teaninich, while in more recent times previous owners have included the American Charles Harrison, on whom the book Little Lord Fauntleroy was based.

While it’s currently run as a small country hotel, it can be converted back to a single family home. However, some of the interior spaces need a bit of an upgrade, as a few are quite dire:easter ross5 That’s pretty gawd-awful, and I can only hope that it’s the servants’ quarters, and that no paying guests ever have to lay their eyes on it. Here’s what they should be seeing instead:easter ross3 Not wild about the furniture or the carpeting (same as above, they must have gotten a great bargain on it!), but the arches and the staircase are just lovely. I think the niche on the right, with what looks like a sculpture of a stag in it, is fabulous.

This bedroom could be great, but I am curious about the curtains on the window on the left – there seems to be a chest of drawers in the window, and they’ve shortened the curtains quite a bit to accommodate it. Of course, the paintings on the wall are a bit small for the space, and look like they were picked up at a car boot sale. Hmmm… maybe I am not liking this place so much!easter ross6 Ah, but then I go outside again, and look at the old stone,  easter ross4the architecture, easter ross2 and the view over Cromarty Firth, easter ross7 and I reconsider.

Information about Teanninich Castle is here, where I found this little note tucked into a corner: Since the photographs were taken there has been considerable redecoration and some of the soft furnishings have been replaced.  Well, thank god for that! Seriously though, if you’re asking nearly £1 million for the property, you ought to have the most up-to-date pictures possible for your brochure. 

July 24, 2011

Weekend Update, No. 140

Still hot as the hinges of hell this weekend, nevertheless, I managed to accomplish a lot. clouds 004 I took care of Connor’s Hallie-Pallie on Friday, and while I thought they’d love the pool, they loved the air conditioning even more!clouds 001Here, Connor demonstrates his amazing wall-walking abilities. He learned watching the closing ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics.

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As I drove around town this weekend, I kept spotting places that were an oasis of coolness, like this classical fountain in one of the downtown parks.

clouds 002. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

One of my friends sent me the link to a series of new adverts extolling tourists to Visit Britain. This one features Dame Judi Dench at the incredible Hever Castle. visit brit As I was looking around for the others, starring Jamie Oliver, Twiggy and more celebs, I came across an older Visit Britain video, so I stopped to watch it. Buried in the most miniscule part of the video featuring Wales, my sharp eye spotted this split second shot:visit brit 2 Nothing special, you say? Well, the mosaic around the old ship’s hull was created and installed by my former housemate in Wales! Very exciting. The mosaic tells the story of Wales’ history as a sea-faring country. Here are some of the images from the piece.6d 019 6d 025 6d 027Well done, Andy!

I think that the advertising campaign worked, because now I want to back to England!

July 23, 2011

Mammatus Clouds

This morning, I got up early to go to a yard sale. This isn’t just any yard sale though, it’s the one that made me famous! {smirk} As I was driving there, I kept noticing the amazing cloud formations, a type that I’d never seen before.clouds 007Now, I am a dedicated cloud-watcher, and love keeping an eye on the weather and the sky. I’ve sailed for years, and even took a class in college called “Wind & Weather for the Serious Yachtsman”, a bit of a sexist title, I’ll agree, but I learned loads. clouds 008These clouds are called Mammatus clouds, because they look like mammary glands, or breasts. The clouds look like pouches which are hanging under cumulonimbus clouds. clouds 009 These clouds are often an indication that there is a severe storm forming, perhaps even a tornado. These clouds are frequently found along with anvil clouds, which indicate thunderstorms forming. clouds 003With all of the intense weather we’ve been having this week,  it's a strong possibility that a storm system is moving in. clouds 006“However, there is one environmental trend that remains common through all of the formation mechanisms; that is, that across the anvil cloud/sub-cloud air boundary there exist sharp gradients in temperature, moisture and momentum (wind shear), which strongly influence Mammatus clouds” per Wikipedia.clouds 005 These clouds are fairly unusual, so I consider myself lucky to have been up early enough to see them and to have the presence of mind to take pictures of them.clouds 011 They almost look like they’re paintings, don’t they?