October 30, 2015

Halloween!

I am not big on Halloween, but this year, I’ve been invited to both a Halloween party, and then next week, a Day of the Dead party. For tomorrow night’s Halloween party in a friend’s barn, I am reprising a costume from 2007 and am going as Kitchen Nightmares. Here, my late friend, John Gutierrez and I are cooking up some of his famous goulash at a Halloween party.halloween party I borrowed a chef’s jacket from a chef friend, complete with set-in kitchen stains, and then am decorating it with iron-on bugs and rats. I have a chef’s toque that will also be decorated. I will be carrying a huge chef’s knife, but will probably ditch it in a corner at the first opportunity.

For the Day of the Dead party, I ordered a dress on Amazon and then risked life and limb and went to Party City to pick up a flowered head-band and some make up. image

I did have to go on a bit of a rant and wonder why every.single.costume for women is marketed as “sexy”. Who wants to be a sexy meter maid or a sexy minion? Ugh!

There will be a little place at this party to acknowledge those who have died in the past year, so I thought I’d take one of Connor’s old toys. I am sad that this year I don’t have a dog to decorate, image

but I managed to dress up our office ghost, as I do every holiday.

No wonder she plays tricks on me!

Have a safe and happy Halloween.

October 26, 2015

Not My Style, But WOW!

Baltimore is home to a range of diverse architectural styles from beautiful Beaux Arts mansions to spare Frank Lloyd Wright ranchers. But this house blows all of the others out of the water!image

This 1949 Art Deco meets the Jetsons, splashed with a bit of mid-century modern has just hit the market at a very reasonable $249k!

Details include curved windows, imageseparate GE stainless steel kitchen unit,image imagebuilt-in cubbies,image recessed lighting,image underfloor radiant heating, and some moderne furniture original to the house.image

You absolutely need a certain design aesthetic to love this house and to be able to live here. It’s on a great shaded lot,image close to a beautiful municipal lake imageand in a young hip city neighbourhood. For more information and additional images, please click here.

October 23, 2015

#ThisisBaltimore: October Edition

It’s been a super busy past few weeks, with events almost every evening and things happening over the weekends. So that’s why posting has been so sporadic. When I leave the house at 8:00 a.m. and don’t return until 10 or 11 p.m., there’s not much time for blogging, regardless of how motivated I want to be! But in the mean-time if you want to see what I am up to, check out my Instagram feed, and my Facebook page. And if you want to shop, check my Etsy page!

I mentioned earlier that I am taking an iPhone photography class and each week, we have an assignment. This sometimes takes me out of my comfort range and I have to use filters and effects. I am much more of a realists, and while I do tweak my images a little, I don’t do it to the extent that the teacher wants… until now.

I might be biased, but Maryland has the best state flag. This is above a doorway and is a riff on the flag. image

My office is in the Mount Vernon section of Baltimore, and there are loads of gorgeous buildings with fabulous details.image

I went to a party at the local Lithuanian Hall a few weeks ago. The building dates from the early 1900’s.image

I have always loved this old firehouse in downtown Baltimore. image

My friend David’s Halloween window. Someone said that these were the Ravens’ cheerleaders in mourning because we’re 1-5 this season!image

This was one of my class submissions – one of the halls at Johns Hopkins University where my class is held. image

Another submission. The theme was people. This is at the train station. image

I am totally smitten with this room at the Carroll Mansion. I adore this chandelier and now its reflection in this old mirror.image

Cylburn Arboretum, close to my house. The most gorgeous sunset lit up the changing trees and the historic house beyond.image

Not really Baltimore, but my friend’s birthday present – two calves. They’re about a week old in this picture. image

Thanks, as always, for reading! I really appreciate your support over the years.

October 19, 2015

Doors Open Baltimore 2015

When I lived in the UK, I attended the Doors Open London where a number of private buildings are open for a day or a weekend each year. When I became President of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation, we tried to do it here, but logistically it was too overwhelming for the few of us. Now that the BAF has re-affiliated with the AIA Baltimore Chapter, there are many more volunteers and much greater resources. So, a committee was formed, and for the second year, during Arch-tober, we’re presenting Doors Open Baltimore. This year’s theme is Undiscovered Baltimore.image

Several dozen buildings in Baltimore will be open on Saturday, October 24th for tours and lectures. I am personally leading two tours of the 1909 purpose-built building where I work, the Medical & Chirurgical Faculty of Baltimore. Chirurgical is derived from the Latin work for surgical, and is pronounced with a hard CH sound.image

Other buildings on the tour are Church & Company, an old church converted to an event space, which is just a few blocks from my house;image

one of my personal favourite buildings, the McKim Free School; image

the Duchess of Windsor Museum, housed in the home where Wallis Warfield Simpson lived as a child; andimage

the Lithuanian Hall, where the “Night of 100 Elvises” is held each December, and where I attended the AIA Design Awards party last week. image

For a complete list of locations that are open, please click here. The event is free, but registration for specific tours is requested.

October 15, 2015

Shilling!

I frequently say how lucky I am, and my luck extends to having super talented friends! They’re always doing interesting things and being smart and creative.

My friend Andrea’s Bosom Buddy bags are now being featured at the venerable J. Peterman. Click on the image to view the dragonfly bag. J. Peterman will be carrying Bosom Buddy’s gorgeous cuff bracelets shortly. I have a stack of them and I love them!image

Andrea is nice enough to give me handbags to try out, and this is my latest one. This is the perfect size bag and it holds a ton, as you can see (that’s Andrea’s wine!) and it fits file folders perfectly. I’ve only been carrying it for two days and I love it! It comes in red, blue (below) and black.image

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My friend Kathy Hudson, a hugely talented writer, has just released the most gorgeous garden book, called On Walnut Hill, The Evolution of a Garden.imageI had a chance to talk to Kathy about the book, and she told me that she loved that the family had lived in the house since 1969, raised their children there, grew the gardens, and now the grandchildren are enjoying the spaces. From dahlias to exotic grasses, chosen by the late nurseryman, Kurt Bluemel, this garden is ever evolving.

This garden, just outside of Baltimore, was started in 1969 and has been presided over and weeded by, the same family every since. Walnut Hill is listed in the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Gardens. The book has images from the early years when it was a pretty raw space, and then through the years and the seasons. The images are spectacular. If you’re a garden lover, this is a book for you.

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Now for some shameless self-promotion! There are still a few spaces left in the walk-n-talk I am giving on Sunday, October 25th on 200 Years of Charles Street in Baltimore.IMG_4674IMG_4717

Click here for the catalogue. I am on page 10. It’s going to be an fun tour with lots of esoteric information about the buildings along the six or so blocks we’re covering. I am very excited to be doing this tour!

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Don’t forget to check out my Etsy Shop! I have some gorgeous new silver and the holidays are coming up faster than we can imagine!imageimageimage

Have a great weekend and I will catch up with you next week!

October 12, 2015

Save the Date!

Once again this year, Bunny Williams Home, Vaughan, Holland & Sherry and Chelsea Editions are having their warehouse clearance sale!image

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I heard that this an amazing sale last year, and I am sure it will be every bit as great this year!

For more information, please click here.

October 7, 2015

Pillow Talk

A few years ago, I had the distinct privilege of meeting a fun gal from Louisiana, Rebecca Vizard. One of the things I liked about her was that she loved textiles even more than I do, and her collection was also much better! She had a booth at High Point and it was such fun looking through the amazing pillows she had created, and listening to her tell stories about the fabrics.image

Now you can hear those stories, too! Rebecca has just written a book, Once Upon a Pillow which is scheduled for publication on October 15th. imageRebecca uses rare textiles from Europe, India and Asia to create her one-of-a-kind pillows and the fabrics come from sources as diverse as convents and country fairs. image

She creates these exquisite pillows with fabrics ranging from old church vestments to suzanis to Fortuny’s best offerings. Being a thrifty gal, Rebecca uses the scraps of the fabrics in a line of chic dog collars, modeled here by the late, great Connor!image

Knowing Rebecca as I do, I know that this is going to be an amazing book, and it will have a place of honour on my shelves, right next to the other books friends have written. To pre-order the book, click here.

And my heartiest congratulations to Mz. BViz for this massive accomplishment! Go girl!

October 1, 2015

Arch-Tober

October is architecture month.

Will you do me a favour? Take a look around you… are you sitting in a building? Do you ever think about the building? About why it looks the way that it does? In all likelihood, an architect had something to do with the building.

The architect placed the windows in a spot that would be pleasing from both the inside and out. IMG_4696The architect figured out how many stairs went from floor to floor, and where the optimal spot would be for the front and back doors. IMG_4660The architect thought about the decorative aspects of the space, what type of moldings on the ceilings and what kind of ornamentation would look best on the fa├žade. IMG_4765

The built environment, both in Baltimore and around the world, owes so much to the architecture of the place. Each has its own look, its own feel. We all know that there’s good architecture and bad architecture, but from there on, it’s subjective.IMG_4820 In Baltimore, we are so lucky to have a wide range of architectural styles, starting with the classical buildings surrounding Mount Vernon Place to the shining new glass structures in Harbor East. We have rows and rows of rowhouses IMG_4706and a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house. We have small Cape Cod style homes, and grand elegant mansions.IMG_4768

All of these have one thing in common – they came from the mind of an architect, a designer, a builder, a creator. They came from the mind of a person who thought through the process of putting a building and all of its elements together to make a unified whole. IMG_4692Most of these architects were anonymous, working in a small office, drafting the lines and angles by hand, never to be known by the generations who saw their work.IMG_4700

So, during the month of October, do me a favour and look around, think of the people who designed the buildings around you, and if you know one, thank an architect.

This is excerpted from an essay I wrote for the Baltimore Architecture Foundation in 2011 and illustrated with images I am using on my walk-and-talk tour of 200 Years of Charles Street later this month. All were taken in a two block stretch of Charles Street, Baltimore’s Main Street.