March 31, 2013

Chic Salvage

I was invited to a lovely Easter’s eve lunch at the home of a local decorator. I was the guest of someone, and only knew the host slightly, so obviously, had never been to his house or seen his garden. 3-30-13 (7)

It was love at first sight! It’s what I would do to my garden and my house, if I had the nerve, and the eye… and of course, the patience to wait out the process. To me, the garden says Rough Luxe, which is sort of my design ideal.

The gardens were a mix of formal plantings like the boxwoods above, but with an unexpected twist, like the blue gates pointing to a sculpture, and then leading out into the meadow beyond. I like this garden now, but I imagine I’d love it even more in June when it’s all leafy and green!3-30-13 (5)

Or this classically shaped urn, standing on a rough pile of flagstones. 3-30-13 (9)

How about this painted chair, below a salvaged corbel on an old beam with vines growing up it?3-30-13 (19)

The front entrance to the property is also interesting – the owner has used two old doors in lieu of a gate,3-30-13 (24) but you still get the feeling of a gate. 3-30-13 (20)

Inside the gates is a small courtyard, with some personal artifacts, like this miniature Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile , 3-30-13 (22)and an old section of a garden gate with some rusted lanterns. I am sure that the new wood will age beautifully along with the rest of the wood.. 3-30-13 (21)

One of the things that just charmed me was the espaliered evergreen magnolia!3-30-13 (16)

I have never seen this done before and think it’s a great way to have a magnolia on a personal scale!3-30-13 (17)

The owner used some of the magnolia and other branches to make a swag for a post in the garden. 3-30-13 (14)

The inside of the house was even more amazing, but I was a very polite guest and didn’t take pictures, or even ask to take pictures, although I know that the house has been published before!

March 28, 2013

Christopher Robin’s House for Sale

Well, not actually his house, since he lived in 100 Acre wood, but the house where A.A. Milne, the author of the Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh stories, as well as numerous books of children’s poetry, lived for more than 20 years. image

It even has a blue plaque indicating that Milne and his family lived there. imageThe house is in Chelsea, London, a very posh area of the city, as reflected in the price of the house – a cool £6.95 million!

Despite the size from the outside, the house has five bedrooms, three baths and three reception (living) rooms, including this one.imageI am not going to comment on the ludicrous number of pillows on the sofas, because I am not critical like that.

No comments either about the dining room, with what looks like an enormous trash can sitting against the wall.imageAnd I am certainly not going to say anything about the floor, which looks like it needs to be refinished, or at least have a huge Oriental rug laid down on it.

This must be the master bed and bath. imageAgain with the pillows! You’re selling your house for millions! Make the damn bed!

I love a good landing and lots of light. image

The kitchen is huge, imageand opens onto a south-facing patio garden.image

Not exactly the House at Pooh Corner, but it’s not bad. More information here.

Lookie Here, Peeps!

On Easter morning, when everyone else is heading for the chocolate bunnies and eggs, I am making a beeline for the Peeps®! I have an abiding love for Peeps, although I must admit that I prefer them in their original yellow colour, and in either the chick or bunny shapes. Anything else is a travesty. And I like a Peep that’s been aged a bit… stale, perhaps.

At this time of year, I always look forward to the Washington Post’s Peeps Diorama contest. Post readers submit their dioramas, made from Peeps characters, and the more than 650 submissions are judged by the Post’s staff. Generally, themes are a fair bit of current events, DC politics and inside-the-Beltway jokes and always very, very clever.

Here are some of this year’s submissions:

Twinkie Rest in Peeps (The Winner)image

Peep’s Chili Bowl (a take off on DC landmark Ben’s Chili Bowl)image

Curious Peeps Explore the Red Planetimage

Peeps of Burden – Rolling Stones Concertimage

Do You Hear the Peep-le Sing, from Les Mizimage

The Peeper Bowl image

Peepton Abbeyimage

We Have a New Peep – The Conclaveimage

This one from several years ago is still my all-time favourite!image

Are you a Peeps person or a chocolate bunny person?

March 26, 2013

NYC Day 2.5: Framed Again

When I was in NYC for the Scalamandré Lenox launch party at Bloomingdales, I had a conversation with a lovely woman, but I didn’t get her name. A day or two later, I received an e-mail from a PR gal with whom I’ve communicated for several years, and she said that one of her clients had met a blogger from Baltimore at the Scalamandré party. Putting two and two together, they realized that it was me!NYC2 (32)

The woman I met was Robyn Pocker, third-generation owner of J. Pocker Framing in NYC. Pocker has been in business since 1926, and both Robyn’s father and grandfather ran the store. She’s got all of the old ledgers showing who their customers were and what they paid – and whether the piece was going to their townhouse or their country house.

Generally, I don’t give a lot of consideration to framing. Either the pieces I have are inherited and have already been framed, or they’re just pictures I’ve taken, and I put them into simple frames.

But spending time at Pocker made me realize that there’s an art to framing. As an exercise in this art, Robyn invited me to bring along a piece I wanted to have framed. After some consideration, I realized that the piece I wanted to frame was one of the chromolithographs I blogged about a few weeks ago, which was part of my late father’s collection.

I packed the piece carefully and took it to New York with me, being super cautious not to bend the package. At Pocker, we unwrapped the print, and I was so pleased when Pascal, the framer, put on his conservators’ gloves to handle the piece.

Pascal started the process by selecting some mats to show off the print, and because of the Oriental nature of the print, he selected some mats in a raw silk. After a process of elimination, we chose an olive green silk mat, which emphasized the vase and made it the focal point. The cream mat was lovely, but we all agreed that the green one was the ideal.

Then Pascal brought over a selection of frames.

He took into consideration things that wouldn’t have occurred to me, like the highlights and lowlights in the print, the background, the Asian nature of the vase and more.

We tried various frames with the various mats until we arrived at a combination that was pleasing to the eye and complimentary to the work on paper.  Here are some of the final options.

And here are the two finalists.
You will have to wait a few weeks, along with me, to see the final product. I will take a day and go to NYC to pick it up. I can’t wait! This will be a piece that I treasure for two reasons: it once belonged to my late father, and because of the kindness of everyone at Pocker!

Thanks so much to Robyn Pocker and her staff at J. Pocker Framing for spending time with me and showing me the process of having a work of art custom framed, and to Liza Morten from Blitzer & Co. for helping get this together. For more information on J. Pocker Framing, check out their website, here, and their blog, which is full of great information.

March 25, 2013

NYC: Day 2

When I booked my trip to NYC, I had some vague ideas of what I’d do with my spare time, but hadn’t filled in the spaces. I was delighted to get an invitation from the Architectural Digest’s Home Show to attend a “Marys and Mimosas” get-together at the show at Pier 94. As I headed up there, it began to snow a little, and I knew that a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa would be welcome!NYC2 (4)

I was a bit surprised not to find a drop of coffee there, but I dealt with that blow, and managed to scarf down a Mimosa or two. In addition, there were gorgeous little doughnuts from Baked by Butterfield in NYC. NYC2 (7)Their doughnuts are baked, not fried, and then the sugar on top is hand-caramelized.

I ran into some fellow bloggers, which was fun. I had seen Stacy from Quintessence the evening before at the lecture, and I met Marcy from Stylesson for the first time, although we’ve “known” each other through blogging. Marcy had been to the show before, so I tagged along with her to see what was going on.

One of the first things I saw was this amazing booth from LaCornue. NYC2 (11)

And seriously? How about this range? The ovens are just to the left of it on the back wall. imageTalk about sleek!

It was such fun to run into Virginia Newman Yocum from Pennoyer Newman at the show. I see her every year at the Ladew Garden Festival!Her booth was so festive – just like Easter was right around the corner with the ranunculus planted in the grass and all of the bunnies hopping around!

I love maps, so these huge metal ones caught my eye.

I am sure that it’s not inexpensive to get a booth at this show, so I had to admire the ingenuity of this group who’d painted sofas on their wall and then placed the pillows on little benches.

I loved the way these pitchers had been arranged to show the light and colour.

I loved these glass balls attached to a mirror. I am not sure I’d ever do something like that, but I liked the look.

Didn’t like the look of this though. Yes, they are men’s urinals in the shape of flowers. I don’t get it.

Although I’d missed Margaret Russell, editor of Architectural Digest, at the lecture the evening before, I did get a chance to see her at the AD Home Show, along with Nate Berkus.

Margaret interviewed Nate about the elements that make a home work and be comfortable. They’ve been friends for a long time, and it was fun to see how comfortable they were with each other. Nate will be doing a new TV show in the fall for one of the networks. The emphasis will be on quality not quickness.

After ogling more of the show,

I headed back to the hotel, checked out and then went to my next appointment. But you’ll have to come back tomorrow for that.