October 31, 2011

A Halloween Treat!

I was invited to a fun Halloween Party on Saturday evening and I don’t know which I was more excited about, the party wesleystuckeydotcomor seeing the house where it was held. I took a ton of pictures, but the house was dark and mysterious, so they didn’t come out too well.

Luckily, a local magazine just printed a feature on the house, so I scanned those in to share with you as a special Halloween treat!cathedral hill0001 The house is called Cathedral Hill, which is also the name of the host and owner’s design firm which he’s just launched. When you see these images, you’ll see that he’s super talented.

CathedralHill 4If you look at the right side of the picture above, you can see framed prints of the famous Turgot Plan de Paris, which the owner, Drew Rieger, downloaded from Pigtown*Design! He framed them in 18 sections, nine on each side of the fireplace. I think the bust of Lafayette just below the maps is from McLain Wiesand.cathedral hill0004One of the rooms I was most excited about seeing was the kitchen space. Drew took out the floor of the room above the kitchen and added a balcony around it. It brought a lot of light into the room. On the right side of the room, both top and bottom is “the great wall of china”, Drew’s extensive of china and other pieces, all on gorgeous shelves.  CathedralHill 7Behind the kitchen is this little garden room which is a perfect place to sit and have a cup of coffee. CathedralHill 6 Although the columns in the dining room look like they’ve always been there, they actually came from the set of “The Wire” which was filmed in Baltimore. They fit perfectly in the space. CathedralHill 8 Throughout the house, which is spread over six floors, there are fabulous vignettes, like this old settee, which has beautiful lines which are highlighted by its naked state!CathedralHill 10 The house, which was originally a private residence and then disintegrated into a flop house with 56 small rooms, amazingly, retained many of its original features, although many were covered up. Many of the rooms still have fireplaces.CathedralHill 3If you look in the fireplace, the white piece is one of David Wiesand’s tortoise shell castings. CathedralHill 9 Although I didn’t get to see the entire house, I can’t wait to be invited back for another look {hint!}. CathedralHill 5 It’s a stunning restoration and Drew is super-talented.

Thanks again for including me at your party, gentlemen!

October 30, 2011

Do You Like Billy Like I Like Billy?

On Saturday, I braved our rare October snow storm to visit some friends and stop by the Book Thing. Because of the howling storm {smirk} there were very few people at the Book Thing, so I was able to really spend some time poking around.frost on the pumpkinsThere, tucked into a corner of the book case, was my old friend Billy Baldwin, Decorating. Now, you know, at my new house, I am just a scant few blocks from where he was raised. Proximity is everything.BB 021 The sad thing about poor Billy Baldwin Decorating over on the shelves was that he was totally uncovered! Naked as the day that poor man was born. I was looking at some older posts and it seems like I find one of BB’s books about once a year.bbaldwin_thumbI can’t keep him around my house that way, so I am going to have to give him away. Do you want him?

If you’re interested in winning a copy of “Billy Baldwin Decorates”, with no dust jacket, just leave me a comment telling me what your favourite Billy Baldwin motif, item, look, fabric, etc. is, and I will pick a winner on Friday, November 5th.

P.S. Don’t forget to leave some identifier, so I can distinguish Anon@ 2:14 from Anon@ 11:00

October 28, 2011

I am in Elle Décor.com

I was so honoured to be included in Elle Décor.com’s list of Design Insiders’ Weekly Finds, along with fellow bloggers, James of What is James Wearing? and my dear friend, Chris Cox of Easy & Elegant Life.logo-elle-decor-headerHere’s my brief essay on my obsessions:

I bought a 110-year-old farmhouse earlier this summer and have been obsessed with finding the right chairs. First, I bought two elegant white slipper chairs that remind me of Billy Baldwin, who grew up just a few blocks from where I am living. Then, my friend, David Wiesand, gave me a Chinoiserie/Gothic faux bamboo and leather chair, another friend gave me a Louis Ghost chair, and I found a down-filled armchair at a tag sale. I think it’s time to stop.

chairThanks to Elle Décor.com for including me!

October 27, 2011

My Old School

I heard on the news this morning that my old school will be housing about 300 of its students on a cruise ship!stmarys-mdApparently, there was some damage caused by Hurricane Irene in late August, and now two of the dorms, including the one where I lived, have mold issues. st-marysAfter a few weeks of students living in hotels, none of which are close, an alumnus suggested to the college’s president that he might consider a cruise ship that was for sale to house the students.sea_voyagerAs it turned out, it would be cheaper to rent the cruise ship than 300+ hotel rooms!smc This is the only kind of boat I ever sailed when I was at college!

October 26, 2011

My Pumpkins

My pumpkin this year isn’t really a pumpkin. It’s an Ikea lantern, which isn’t on their website anymore.  I have two of these lanterns with rounded globes. pumpkin2I decided to paint the insides of the globes a bright orange by swirling the paint around inside – much harder than it sounds. It took two coats to get the consistency right. It needed to be watery enough that it would move around and cover the inside, but not too runny so that it slid right off.pumpkin3I found some images on-line and then enlarged them. I didn’t feel like hooking up my printer, so I laid a piece of paper on the computer screen and traced the images. Then I cut them out and roughly traced them onto the globe.pumpkin 1Following that, I painted the images with black paint, doing two coats to make sure it was thick enough and the light didn’t shine through.pumpkin6I can use these lanterns for the next few days without worrying about the pumpkins getting moldy and soft. I can also store them and use them again next year, or just scrub them out and use them for lanterns again.

I also have a big green alien for the front porch.

October 25, 2011

Northern Lights

I was distressed to find out that a rare sighting of aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights, occurred last night, and I missed them! Northern%20Lights%20Michigan%202011%20coverWhat is even more unusual is that the lights were red, an end-of-the-spectrum colour which is very rare. Northern%20Lights%20Michigan%202011%204Northern Lights are mainly from the other end of the light spectrum and are green and blue.Northern%20Lights%20Michigan%202011I’ve only seen the lights once. I was in Scotland and it was incredibly cold and very dark. aurora2A friend and I were out walking her dog late at night and we saw them. Funnily, when I think about seeing them, my memory includes some shimmery music, even though I know there was none.

None of these pictures are mine. I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a camera on a dog walk in the middle of the night in Scotland!

October 24, 2011

The Shops: With Gratitude

In the run up to the December holidays, and in light of my commitment to shop locally, I am starting The Shops, a new series featuring small, locally-owned shops. There are so many of these wonderful stores, true small businesses, where each of us live, and if we don’t support them, we will lose them.

I am pleased to introduce you to the first in my series: With Gratitude. Pam and Courtney, who run this great little shop are always filled with smiles and good cheer whenever I pop in to see them, usually when I am waiting for my lunch at the sandwich shop in the same small row of shops where their store is located. with gratitudeWith Gratitude is always filled with things I’d love to have (hint to family!), and their merchandising is always such fun.with gratitude 1They take their seasonal decorating very seriously here and their stock reflects the change of seasons, as well.with gratitude13With Gratitude recently got in some items that hold a special place in the heart of Baltimoreans – a range of Mr. Boh cufflinks, belts, and dog leashes and collars. with gratitude21I made Chris, Mr. Boh’s salesman, put on the belt to show it off.

The gals like to feature local items, such as these Maryland mugs and napkins,
with gratitude2 with gratitude5
or this embroidered towel.with gratitude18
Maryland’s state flag is one of the more unique ones in the US, and here, sections of it have been framed.with gratitude28They also have a lot of fun jewelry, including this necklace, which I’d find all sorts of occasions to wear’with gratitude24So, if you’re in the Stoneleigh section of Baltimore, be sure to stop by With Gratitude and see what’s in store! You’re sure to find something that you love!

October 23, 2011

The Holiday

Have you seen the movie, “The Holiday” with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet? Cameron’s character trades houses with Kate’s character, and Cameron ends up in a sweet little cottage in rural England.the holidayWhile I was reading The Guardian on-line today, they had a line up of great cottages available for rental over the Christmas holidays. I instantly thought about the movie, and what a fantasy it is to spend the holidays somewhere other than at home.the holiday norfolkEngland is magical at Christmas and it would be fabulous to spend the holidays there, either will full family in tow, or just with someone special.the holiday norfolk2Some of the houses are actually a great deal… when you look at the cost per week, it might seem expensive, but when you divide it up between guests/night, it’s a deal. the holiday norfolk3This house, Felmingham Hall in Norfolk is an Elizabethan manor house with lots of period features including open fires, stained glass, antique oak furniture and four poster beds. the holiday norfolk4A seven-night stay over Christmas costs from £6,000, based on 14 sharing, and includes welcome hamper, utilities, toiletries, towels, bed linen and a housekeeper.the holiday norfolk5 If you work it out, that’s just £61 or $97.00 per person per night. Well cheaper than most hotels!

Have you started planning for Christmas yet?

October 22, 2011

Today’s OKL Madness!

I love old Ball jars as much as the next person, but it’s not exactly like they’re scarce! If you do a Google search for vintage Ball jars, there are over 2.29 million results. They’re pretty inexpensive, so when I saw these vintage Ball jars, offered by Russell Johnson on OKL, my jaw dropped.

You could get Russell’s three assorted Ball jars for $89, reduced from the retail price of $150.balljarsBut maybe you’d like this set of six for $199, reduced from $325!balljar3Or you could check out this Etsy seller who has three blue Ball jars for a mere $19.00 and do something else with the $70 you just saved.balljars2

Your call!

October 21, 2011

Queen Victoria’s Bloomers

Just in case you’re interested, a pair of Queen Victoria’s bloomers are going up for auction next month. The bloomers, along with a nightgown and pairs of silk stockings, including a black pair topped with her monogram, which she wore following the death of Prince Albert, were part of the late Malcolm Forbers’ collection. The silk bloomers are expected to fetch £3,000.bloomersThe bloomers are kept tactfully in a bathroom cupboard so as not to embarrass Prince Charles when he visits Battersea House in London, which is also being sold.  The house is a listed William and Mary mansion designed by Sir Christopher Wren, with a garden overlooking the Thames opposite Chelsea.old-battersea-houseThe property, which may have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was bought and restored by Forbes in 1970 and is on sale separately with Savills for £12m.

October 20, 2011

She’s Fired!

I’ve been very upset all day. I awoke to the news that a good dear friend of mine had been summarily fired from a part-time job that she holds.

Did I hear this through an e-mail? Or via a phone call? No… I heard it on the news on the radio. Later, I read it on Slate, on the Huffington Post and the Washington Post, as well as myriad other media outlets.LISA-SIMEONEMy friend, Lisa Simeone, who hosts an opera program and a documentary program for NPR, was fired by SoundPrint, the documentary program under pressure from National Public Radio for her support of the Occupy protests. NPR said that she was bringing her personal politics to her job. She never commented on her activities on either radio program.

This is so offensive to Lisa, as she’s being told that she can’t exercise her right to free speech on her own time. Regardless of her politics or mine, no one deserves to be treated this way.

October 19, 2011

I’ll Take This… Stable House

There’s a house that is just a couple of blocks from my current house that I’ve always loved. It’s so different from the grand and elegant houses in the neighbourhood, and it’s got a quirky look that I like. It also looks like it’s been misplaced – it should be somewhere in the Cotswolds.moag1It turns out that it was one of the old stables that dot the neighbourhood and it was converted to a house many years ago. moag20It’s on the market now for just a little less than $1m. But the great thing about this house, aside from it’s setting, and  details, is that it’s zoned for both business and residential use.moag2 I love how the owners have kept the gorgeous details of the house, like the beadboard ceiling and the walkway, and then added some, like the horse-shoe.moag4 This house is tucked at the bottom of the same hill where my house is, and is hidden from sight by tall hedges. I remember exploring these spaces when I was a kid. moag5 Even though, with all of the trees and hedges, the house might be dark, all of the huge windows brighten it tremendously.moag9 One end of the house is residential and the other is the family’s business in sports marketing and sports franchise sales. moag18 It has a separate entrance for each use.moag21 Even the bathrooms retain many of the original details, like the beautiful subway times and the huge bathtub (sans shower!). I love the stained glass skylight.moag14 The agent selling this house is a friend of mine, and I am going to try and get over there and see it in person.

Photos: Ron Solomon