February 28, 2014

One More House: Lord Fairfax’s House in Alexandria

Thanks to reader Janet for sharing this house with me! This house was apparently on the market for quite some time, despite its excellent location in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, and its “reasonable” price tag of $6 million, as well as its storied history.image

Circa 1800, the home was constructed as the winter residence to Thomas Lord Fairfax, Ninth Baron Cameron, and his son until 1875.image

Seriously, if I had a choice between a house like this, and the big one, Tyrconnell, I’d take this in an instant. Here, we have the front hall, which has 14’ ceilings. image

Beautiful staircase.image

And from above:image

There’s even a spacious back garden!image

Decent kitchen, which is always good. imageIt looks like the house finally sold, but I am glad I got to see where some ancestor lived!image

Thanks to Old Town Home for the images!

February 26, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole…

A number of people commented on how “inexpensive” yesterday’s house seemed, and in the scheme of things – other similar houses in different locales – it does come in on the lower end. A friend sent me a listing for a similar-sized house in Scarsdale, NY which was listed for more than three times the price of Tyrconnell. image

At the end of the slideshow for the house above, there were previews of a number of other slideshows for other houses for sale. That lead me to a wonderful property outside of Pittsburgh, which the owner had originally purchased in 2000 to farm to donate food to a food-bank and teach her children about charity in the process. The 150-acre property was originally $400,000, but the current selling price is not available. image

In addition to farming the property, and donating 150,000 lbs. of food the charity over five years, the owners also make a number of improvements, and really made a special place. image

The property includes a historical farmhouse converted for residential use, a multipurpose barn, these twin greenhouses, a tool shed and other outbuildings.image

The main house was renovated and covered with reclaimed barn wood. image

The interiors feature many reclaimed, recycled and salvaged pieces. imageimage

The property also has a two-story barn, which is used for entertaining.image

It’s used for everything from barn dances to formal dinners. (I am thinking maybe these two chairs should be a little closer to each other!)image

The barn’s lower level has stables and an office.image

The property also features five “view houses” each distant, yet visible to each other. image

The property was originally listed for $10 million, but there have been several price drops, and it will go to absolute auction in May.

February 25, 2014

I’ll Take This: Estate in Baltimore

One of the most beautiful houses in Baltimore is for sale and if I had a spare $5 million that I needed to blow, I’d snap it up in a heartbeat!image

The house is called Tyrconnell and was built first in 1826 and then rebuilt in 1924. The house has nine full bathrooms, ten bedrooms and eleven fireplaces. image

It also has the most beautiful and elegant detailing throughout it. The millwork is amazing and you can tell that the craftsmanship dates from the early 1900’s.image

The house is filled with light, which is one of my main priorities.image

I think that when you have this kind of kitchen, you should also have a scullery maid. I wish my copper pots and pans were this shiny, but since I actually use them, they aren’t.

It’s interesting that the kitchen isn’t super modern. imageIf I had this much storage space, you KNOW that I would have enough sets of china and glassware to fill every cupboard! Also, why is there a ladder in the corner of the kitchen??? Does it go all the way around for access to the top cabinets? Hmmmm.image

Painted or papered?image

Again, if I had that much shelving, every inch would be filled!image

This house is known for its formal gardens, and you can see how beautiful it will be in the spring… Here’s what a House & Garden Pilgrimage had to say about the gardens:

Tyrconnell has 26 acres of gardens, landscaped in the 1920s by the noted Philadelphia landscape architect, Arthur Folsom Paul, are set amongst flowering specimens and mature native trees. A boxwood bordered entrance court, a patio with a west vista overlooking Lake Roland, and a terraced parterre garden surround the house. The noted north allee, modeled on the Italian Renaissance garden at Villa d’Este, features a magnificent central axis intersected by terraces and culminating in an exuberant fountain. The house, built in 1826 for John O’Donnell, was expanded in 1919 by the Baltimore firm of Mottu and White in the Colonial Revival style and is now listed on the National Register.




The house even has a view down to the local lake.image

If you didn’t know you were in Baltimore, you could be on a gorgeous English estate.image

The property, which is more than 20 acres, comes with barns and other outbuildings, as well as a tenant's cottage.image

Yep! I’d take this estate! Would you?image

Check out the listing here.

February 24, 2014

About Those Spoons

I took a closer look at the spoons I bought and noticed a few unusual details about them. First of all, when I checked the maker’s mark, which was Hatting, Meyer and Warne, there were only two pieces made by this company that I could find.

One is an elaborate silver pitcher which I found on 1st Dibs. imageThe other piece of this silver is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Both descriptions indicate that the pieces were made in the late 1850’s and early 1860’s. The one small piece of information that I gleaned from the descriptions is that the company was based in Philadelphia.

The other unusual detail about these spoons is the shape of the bowl. All of the bowls are slightly misshapen and angle to the right. I wonder if that could be a combination of soft metal and someone eating from them the same way for more than 150 years. Since the shapes aren’t identical, they probably weren’t made that way. What you can’t see very well is that there’s a tiny lip at the angled side of the bowl.The spoons are very light-weight and not the heavier hotel or coin silver that you see.

My friend Yonks said that the monogram is probably M.A.I. which leads me to believe that there’s no name change in my future!

I’d love to hear your speculation as to why the bowls of the spoon are angled!

Weekend Update

We finally had a gorgeous weekend in Baltimore and I have to tell you that every.single.person in Baltimore was out and about! After being sick during the week, I was glad to have a quiet weekend where I could lay low, get some things done around the house and generally take it easy.

One thing I made a point of doing was attending the Junior League of Baltimore’s Trinkets & Treasures Sale, but I have to say that I wasn’t one of the people lined up at the crack of dawn to get the best buys first. I lazed around until mid-afternoon, when I thought things would have calmed down a bit lot, which they had. I picked up a couple of great old prints, including one of Hampton Mansion,   krjust outside of Baltimore, Hampton Court Palace, just outside of London,   kr

and a wonderful seagull.

In addition, I got a great set of demitasse cups and saucers for a friend who collects hunting scenes,

and a set of spoons, which almost have my monogram on them. I think they say MAF instead of MFF. Maybe I can make up a new middle name… what do you think of Arabella? I’ve always liked that name.

I also went out to Halcyon House Antiques, where I saw a chair with the most gorgeous fabric on it.

It’s not a print that I am familiar with, but it’s got one of my favourite motifs on it – blue and white Chinese vases. But it also has initials on it in gourd shapes.

Any ideas what this fabric is?

One of the scenes at Halcyon that I love is the red barn in the big meadow, as you see in my header. Here are two images of the red barn, one from just after our storm last week and one over this weekend.

A couple of 60* days will really melt away the snow!

How was your weekend?