January 28, 2016

I’ll Take This: The St. Paul’s Studios

I’ve written about this amazing block of buildings in London several times before, most recently in September, here and also here. I am just enchanted with the St. Paul’s Studios, a block of former artists studios with gorgeous double height windows, and look forward to seeing them when I am back in the UK next month. imageOne of these was recently featured in The Guardian (UK) with some interior images. The houses were designed for bachelor artists by Frederick Wheeler, and provide enormous amounts of natural light, a necessity for artists. imageOver the years, fewer artists live in them, and the six-lane road outside has become the main artery to and from Heathrow Airport, and on to the M4, a major east-west highway. Unfortunately, there’s also a tube station in the rear.imageThis end-of-group unit had been owned for 40 years by an American, and prior to that, it had been sub-divided into apartments. The couple kept a mezzanine or loft that had been added and made the huge studio room their master bedroom. imageThe wallpapers are by the owner’s niece, the designer, Neisha Crosland. image Regardless of anything and everything, I’d still take one of these terrific buildings in a heartbeat!image

You can read the full article here.

January 24, 2016

29.2 Inches!

Well, this was a record-setting weekend all along the mid-Atlantic coast, and especially here in Baltimore. We set the record for one day/one event snowfall with 29.2 inches falling in just about 30 hours. At times, the snow was falling at three inches per hour! The snow started slowly, at about 3:00 p.m. Friday and continued until just about 8:00 p.m. on Saturday.IMG_8149IMG_8160IMG_8185

In the second image, you can barely make out the lump that it my neighbour’s car! Mine was shoveled out with the help of a young man who was savvy and motivated enough to advertise on Next Door™. I still can’t get my car out of our street because it hasn’t been ploughed yet… This might be the reason why:IMG_8184

Here’s my car before shoveling.IMG_8170

After lots of shoveling, we managed to make piles of snow taller than I am – and on both sides of the path!IMG_8175

No work on Monday because many of the city’s streets are still impassable. With the high winds we had along with the snow, there are massive drifts that make ploughing difficult.IMG_8180

Did you have snow? How did you cope?

January 22, 2016

Prepping for the Storm

We have had a pretty easy winter here in Baltimore. In fact, my family ate Christmas lunch on the porch in 70°weather. I can’t remember that ever happening before! Well, as they say paybacks are a bitch! image

We’re expecting up to two feet of snow, plus 50 mph winds, beginning on Friday night and ending sometime Sunday. If you remember, we had about 50+ inches of snow in five days in 2010, but since then, just 10 inches here and there. Nothing too monumental! image

I will be sorry not to have Connor around to use as my snow-meter, but I still have the snow bunny for measuring. He actually loved the snow, and would sit outside for as long as I’d let him. imageWhen we had that storm, during which we were required to shelter-in-place, I taught myself to sew. I’d just discovered a local store which sold amazing fabric remnants, and I couldn’t resist buying them… and then I had to buy a sewing machine!

I think I am going to work on finally finalizing the design for my Toile de Baltimore. My friend Julie had resurrected this over Christmas and had printed some wrapping paper with the pattern. I used it on a gift bag over the holidays, too. image

My work hours preclude me from photographing my great mother-of-pearl silverware during the week, so the bright diffuse light of the snowstorm should be perfect for shooting. IMG_4452Look for new items on my Etsy shop over the next couple of days!

Luckily, I am well stocked with reading materials, and am making sure that all of my devices and chargers are charged in case we lose power.I went to the grocery store before it became an episode of The Hunger Games (literally). It’s all a little daunting, but I am sure we’ll all get through it, and then have great stories to tell.

Wish me luck and check my Instagram and FB feeds over the next few days!

January 18, 2016

At Home with Tone On Tone

As I’ve said many times before, one of the best parts about this blogging adventure is meeting new people. Loi Thai and his partner, Tom Troeschel, are some of those people. They have joined us for some fun parties here in Baltimore and have become wonderful friends over the past few years.

Loi and Tom also own the gorgeous store, Tone on Tone, in Bethesda, Maryland and writes the blog of the same name. He’s also got a beautiful instagram account with something like 31,000 followers (gawd, now I am depressed!).

And, if that’s not enough, their beautiful house is featured in the February issue of Martha Stewart!image

His house is the epitome of cool, calm and collected, as is Loi himself. Spare, clean, white and bright are some other words I’d use to describe his design aesthetic.image

Here’s Loi with Baltimore-based photographer, Helen Norman, who did the photography, and Lorna Aragon, editor for MS Magazine. I was actually up at Helen’s Star Bright Farm, just before Christmas.image

This is all just a sneak peek, but you must go pick up the magazine and see how gorgeous it all is and then go visit his blog.image

Tell Loi I sent you!

January 14, 2016

The Chair Woman

I love chairs, and perhaps have a few too many that I’ve collected in my house. I have a specific Pinterest board called Chairy to highlight chairs I love. Some are fun and whimsical, and others are historical and serious. image

I was at a long meeting the other day in my role as Chair of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation. It was held at Price-Modern, an office furniture company with a modern slant. It’s a great location – a former warehouse which looks out over a small river valley. Lots of huge windows, lots of cozy meeting rooms and a ton of chairs. Tons of chairs.

So, of course, I had to take pictures of some of them to share with you.

Really conflicted about this chair. Love the design, but it’s not very comfortable, and it doesn’t show one’s best side.IMG_8042

The day we were meeting was bitter cold with 50 mph winds. This looked like such a cozy place to curl up and work… or nap.IMG_8044

A new take on the old 1006 Navy chair. Super shiny with rockers.IMG_8043

I couldn’t quite figure this out, and because I was wearing a skirt, I didn’t try it. Sideways or straddling?IMG_8037

My friend Steve tries this on for size. The radio reception is fantastic. IMG_8035

Another cocooning chair for a chilly day.IMG_8040

And then there was this. It was huge.IMG_8038

It’s always fun to go to events at this space because it’s so contemporary and I get to see what is new in the showroom, but I don’t always want the chairs.

January 10, 2016

Ten. Plus…

Hard to believe that this marks the beginning of my 10th year of blogging! And as I say every year, blogging has literally been life-changing. The people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve had, the things that I’ve learned and shared are all such a part of my life now. Although I’ve slowed down a bit, and after more than 2,337 posts, I think I am entitled! This is my philosophy for the coming year!Housewerks (11)

One of the first local posts I wrote was about my friends at Housewerks Salvage. All these years later, it continues to be a treasure trove of amazing pieces. I got a call the other afternoon, telling me that through a series of events, Housewerks had just acquired some amazing pieces from the British Embassy, just 40 miles down the road in Washington, DC. I couldn’t wait to see these exceptional pieces, so met up with two of my besties and went down to check them out.Housewerks (69)

Before we even got inside, there were some great things to see. Housewerks recently deconstructed an old church, and there were plenty of artifacts around the property. Housewerks (21)Housewerks (22)Housewerks (25)Housewerks (28)

Once we went inside, it was like an Aladdin’s cave! We came to see the pieces from the British Embassy, including these weighty iron fire-backs with the insignia of George V, who was king at the time the embassy was constructed in the 1920’s.Housewerks (14)

Here’s an image of the piece in situ.IMG_7969

The embassy was designed by English architect, Sir Edwin Landweer Lutyens, and is the only building he did in America. Sometime during a 20th century renovation, these pieces were removed and Housewerks was able to acquire them. Eight fireplace surrounds came to Housewerks in dozens of pieces, and through investigating a series of marks on their reverse, the crew was able to re-assemble them.imageimage

The provenance on these pieces is, as most everything at Housewerks, impeccable.

Here are some of the other fun architectural artifacts I saw at Housewerks.

Marble sink surround with rock crystal legs. Comes with a matching black & white marble sink!Housewerks (3)

Coffee grinder and brewer in the shape of a COFFEE POT! Housewerks (12)

Magazine holders. Housewerks (39)Housewerks (41)

Tolework chandelier.Housewerks (57)

Spiral-carved marble columns.Housewerks (73)

Church detail.Housewerks (72)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Thank you so much for reading over the years.
I am immensely grateful for your support, your emails and your comments, and most of all, your friendship.

January 8, 2016

One King’s Lane Fire Sale

No, they’re not having a sale, they are for sale. I made a lot about OKL’s crazy sales, the amazingly stupid things with eye-wateringly ridiculous prices, that they had on their flash sales. I used to anticipate that daily e-mail that came at about 11:00 a.m. and see what bargains I could find (not many) and what I could laugh at (tons). I even created a category of these finds, here.image

Now word comes that One King’s Lane is for sale. From a high vaulation of $900 million, to a possible sale price of $150 million, the mighty have fallen. This news comes from Fast Company and you can read it here.

After a while, I just quit reading and even opening the OKL emails. You could find the exact items, with a little looking at Home Goods, Amazon or even Goodwill, as I proved several times. It wasn’t worth the effort to scroll through pages and pages of items looking for that one bargain.

Just for fun, let’s revisit some of OKL’s more ludicrous offerings.

Metal clamps on a stick. image

Framed tea towel. It must be the recipe that inflates the price.image

There’s an expression: Dumber than a box of rocks. Hmmmm.image

My dislike of canning jars intensified here.image

Complete insanity. And how do you know that the wood is circa 1930s?image

This was the post that got me a long, scolding email from another blogger. But it provided a great challenge which you can read about here.image

Are you surprised about this? Did you ever shop at OKL? I did, and got some great things, but it was all tempered by their unreal prices on mundane items.