September 28, 2015

A Little Historic House Tour

I am getting ready to join the board of an early 19th century house, the Carroll Mansion, here in Baltimore and after an absence of many years, I had a chance to do a brief tour of it last week. image

It was built by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, for his daughter, although he spent the last 12 winters of his life there. It looks like this now. image

It’s not too different… on the left window, you can see the shadow of the original doors, and I can tell you from experience that the shutters open, and there are lovely six-over-six windows, with their original interior shutters.

The house is empty now, having lost a lot of its original furnishings when the consortium of museums it was part of went bankrupt about 20 years ago. It’s now reviving itself as an arts and community center. It’s still part of the complex, and has its own private gardens, complete with lush, end-of-the-season flower beds. image

I had to gasp when I climbed to the second floor and saw the three main rooms, complete with their 12+ foot ceilings and amazing wallpapers and chandeliers. image

The gilded bits of this chandelier are wood, and it dates back to just after the house was built in 1811. I loved the effect of its shadow on the wall. image

Another chandelier kept sending the funniest reflections into my camera, and those of the friends that I was with. No other picture did this. Maybe it was the ghosts…image

As I said, the wall papers were magnificent!image

And some of the early details remain. image

I will be in and out of this house working on a special project over the next eight months, so stay tuned for more great historic house images!

September 23, 2015

Eddie Ross’s Modern Mix

It was almost exactly six years ago that I drove down to Washington, DC to “spend the weekend” with the stylish and fun Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kocher. They were in DC to do a flea market tour, and fellow blogger, Michele at My Notting Hill, had a small cocktail party for them so they could meet some of the area bloggers. It was such fun to finally put names and faces together and many of us have remained friends.

Fast forward to the news that Eddie is sharing all of the knowledge that we saw first-hand that weekend with everyone in his new book,Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds!IMG_4379

As soon as I got this book, I literally sat down and started reading it page by page, devouring the photographs, the great information and the excellent tips that Eddie and Jaithan wrote. And then the next evening, I did it over again to see what I had missed. This book is jam-packed with fabulous information on a wide range of topics. IMG_4395

The introduction to each chapter is very creatively done, with a half page to announce the chapter, and then a summary of its contents. Very clever!IMG_4381IMG_4383

Eddie and I share a deep love of several things, including unusual silverware, china of all sorts, and lovely linens, all of which are covered in depth in this book. This image is a perfect example of our shared love – I have the same china, and the ivory-handled knife is similar to the type that I collect. IMG_4403And in this image, you can see that his collection of mother-of-pearl handles silverware is very similar to mine!IMG_4386

He discusses not only the collecting of these items, but the care and upkeep of them, too! Eddie shows myriad examples of each item he discussing and tells you what’s good about each, and what to look for when you’re collecting something. IMG_4397IMG_4393Throughout the book, there are fun images from Eddie’s Instagram account, IMG_4385

and tips and hints highlighted by Eddie’s signature tortoise-shell specs. IMG_4391

Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s going to be one of those books that I keep on my shelves and refer back to time and time again. It’s not trendy or flashy, just great information presented beautifully and easily. I know that each time I read through it, I will find new information that’s relevant to me just when I need it. IMG_4401

Congratulations to Eddie and Jaithan on the publication of Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds and for a job well done! I am looking forward to seeing you at the book event in Washington with the old gang from six years ago!

September 20, 2015

Chartreuse & Co.

About an hour west of Baltimore, in the small town of Buckeystown, there is an occasional event I finally got around to attending! It’s the bi-monthly (or so) barn sale at Chartreuse & Co. As you wind down some country roads, in a county that is rapidly becoming more suburban than rural, you see an historic brick house and a collection of barns. IMG_4260

Each of the barns is filled with loads of goodies, some in small shops that various owners have set up and others filled with furniture or architectural artifacts. IMG_4261

A lot of the shops veered a bit too far towards the faux shabby “chic” side for me, and if I saw one more 20-something clutching a Ball or Mason jar like she’d just won an Emmy, I was going to slap someone.

But there was enough to make me happy including two of my passions: old silverplate pieces, IMG_4267IMG_4273IMG_4311IMG_4318and some good collections of ironstone.IMG_4310IMG_4316IMG_4317

It’s just beginning to feel like autumn here and it was fun to see the wide varieties of pumpkins used for decoration. IMG_4283IMG_4308IMG_4309IMG_4315

It was fun seeing how people had styled their shops. IMG_4340IMG_4302IMG_4290IMG_4303The barns are styled using some of the inventory, like this one paneled in old shutters. IMG_4312

On the way home we popped into Frederick for little while, and soon realized that it was best left for an all day trip up to visit all of the great antique shops and restaurants, including Brian Voltaggio’s Volt Restaurant. We stopped into one shop that both Andrea and I thought was just beautifully decorated. IMG_4328IMG_4329IMG_4330IMG_4333IMG_4335

It was a beautiful day for a drive to Frederick, IMG_4326IMG_4338IMG_4339

and we’re both looking forward to visiting again.

September 15, 2015

The Adventure Continues

As you might know, one of my favourite places in Baltimore is The Book Thing, the place where you can get as many free books as you can carry… in you book bag or in your tractor trailer!  I hadn’t been in a few weeks, mainly because it’s not air-conditioned and it’s in a one-level, flat-roofed warehouse and it’s hot enough to make you pass out. Not a fun experience. Of course, it’s not heated, either, but I can deal with that!

As I poked around, I had a feeling I might find something good. As I turned to look at the one odd shelf of biographies, I spotted a zebra in the midst of all of the books. image

It was the famously zebra-covered book, I Married Adventure. But this one had part of its original book cover, something which I’d never seen before. ith thIMG_5294

Actually, as I have since found out, this is the back cover of the book. Of course, I realized immediately that only half of the cover was with the book, and I searched around for the other part of it, to no avail. Both of the inner flaps were there, as well as the back cover, not even attached to anything.

When I got home, I did a little research and found what the original cover looked like. There’s barely anything to let you know about the sublime cover lurking below the blue and green. image

There is another cover, which is much less awful, and was from one of the early editions. image

The newest editions feature a completely different cover, but still with the same image of Martin & Osa Johnson on the cover. image

In searching, I found that there was a movie made of their adventures, and because the Johnsons were film-makers, much of their own footage was used. image

Earlier this year, on the 75th anniversary of the original release of the movie, it was re-issued on DVD with this cover. image

And then to keep things really classy, there’s an advert that Osa did for Blatz beer!image

The Book Thing is one of the many things I love about Baltimore!