February 29, 2016

Debo’s Auction

On March 2, items from the estate of Deborah, the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire will be auctioned at Sotheby’s in London. I was so disappointed to miss the preview of this spectacular auction, which is the UK equivalent to Bunny Mellon’s auction a year and a half ago for its  provenance alone.

I scrolled through the on-line catalogue and picked out some items I would have bid on.

A silver mounted cowrie shell snuff box, marks rubbed, possibly Provincial or European, 18th/19th centuryimage

Her Grace's Collection of Elvis Presley Ephemeraimage

Jonathan Sainsbury GOSSIP - HENSimage

Her Grace's bespoke pine and plywood hen boxes, modernimage

Desk and Reading Accessories from Her Grace's Desk, 19th century and laterimage

Two English chrome car mascots by Louis Lejeune Ltd., modernimage

Twelve Royal Crown Derby bone china 'Chatsworth Golden Wedding' plates, modernimage

80 Glorious Years – Matthew Riceimage

A collection of costume jewelryimage

An English metal mounted plywood egg case, dated 29 May 1929image

To see all of the lots, click here for the catalogue. The estimates are pretty reasonable, but that doesn’t mean they will stay reasonable!

February 25, 2016

Places to Go. People to See.

As I mentioned the other day, I postponed my trip to the UK for a few weeks, and am now replanning the whole thing. I will be in London for a few days, then going back to Wales, and then heading off on a drive-round, with no particular agenda, as of now, and then finally, ending up back in London. I have plans to meet up with family and friends along the way, but would love your suggestions of where to go and whom to see. Cirencester roofline

Two places I want to visit are Sheffield because of the history of silver-making, and Stoke-on-Trent because of their history making china and porcelain. That takes me up to the more northern part of the country. I basically have four full days to play with, and having lived in the UK, I am perfectly comfortable driving there (as long as the car is an automatic!).thatched barn

I am religiously checking the magazine Homes & Antiques’s website for their March list of antiques fairs and shows. That will give me some ideas of which direction I should point the car. Chruch bells

So, any ideas of great country homes, brilliant shops, fabulous antiquarians, etc. will be much appreciated. I am also partial to a good country church or two.

Thanks, in advance!

February 22, 2016

Change in Plans

The past week has been a bit of a nightmare! (Hence the silence) I was supposed to fly to the UK on Sunday, but had an issue with my passport. Of course, I’d sent it in mid-January, plenty of time with the expedited service, to get back by the time I was leaving on the 21st. But a week ahead of travel, I got an email from the passport service on Friday NIGHT, saying that my picture didn’t pass muster and please send a new one, within 90 days!regents canal

Of course, Monday was a federal holiday, so I couldn’t talk to anyone in the passport office until Tuesday. I got the advice to send the new picture overnight and maybe (!), I would have it back by my travel date. To show my urgency, I added the copies of my tickets showing I was scheduled to leave on the 21st. St Pancras station

Then came an email saying they’d received my new photo and were beginning to process the new passport. And that it would take three weeks. At that point, I was so irritated, and uncertain as to whether I could travel, that I postponed the trip by four weeks. st donats

Naturally, my passport arrived on Friday morning. imageMy photo has an odd orange cast, but otherwise it’s fine. And I love that the inside front cover is the words to the Star Spangled Banner and a picture of my beloved Fort McHenry!

All photos from prior trips.

February 15, 2016

The Little Greenhouse

What better place to spend a bitter cold afternoon than a nice warm greenhouse? On Saturday afternoon, I joined two friends on a visit to a local greenhouse that specializes in orchids. IMG_8539Orchids are such amazing flowers, so prehistoric and unearthly in their appearance. The Little Greenhouse (no website) is located just north of Baltimore and was a quick drive. When we entered from the 19* F air outside into the warm, damp greenhouse, my specs completely fogged over. But as soon as they cleared, I knew I had to take some pictures. All were taken with my iPhone, and I used the macro feature on Camera+.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the names of the orchids, bromeliads and begonias, so just enjoy them, regardless!

This flower was about an inch long. I love the way the bottom petal curls under.IMG_8524IMG_8525

Who “nose” what this one is!IMG_8526

Yellow-centered bromeliadIMG_8533IMG_8535IMG_8534

Such a gorgeous orange.IMG_8530


No filterIMG_8555

Although it looks like I blurred the leaves on this, I actually didn’t!IMG_8560

Such a gorgeous pink. At Halcyon House Antiques.IMG_8570

My Valentine’s Day presentIMG_8571IMG_8578

Thanks to Stiles & Jonathan for including me on your field trip to the Little Greenhouse!

February 12, 2016

The Notebook

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE notebooks. I have lots of them and love making notes, writing lists and jotting down ideas. At the office, I have a series of notebooks, all numbered. Each time I have a different conversation or meeting, I write my notes in a different colour with my favourite Le Pen 18 Color Pen Set. I love ruled notebooks, but I especially love graphed notebooks!

So when I got an email from the Princeton Architectural Press talking about their cool new notebook, I knew I wanted one. They were kind enough to send a bright red one to me, and it was love at first sight!IMG_8508

It has a number of differen grids, IMG_8500IMG_8506IMG_8501

I can imagine sitting in a boring meeting doodling on these amazing grids with my pens!

The other fun thing was the dividers with a range of instructions, including how to draw perpective IMG_8503

and how to tie knots. IMG_8504

When I sailed, my favourite expression was “if you can’t tie good knots, tie lots of them!”. But I am actually pretty decent at knots.

This is a gorgeous notebook which won’t get lost in the shuffle on your desk.IMG_8499 You can order it at Princeton Architural Press here, at Barnes & Noble here or at Amazon here. And if you join their newsletter right now, you get a nice little gift card to use in their shop!

February 8, 2016

The Year of the Monkey

This is the Chinese Lunar New Year and this year’s symbol is the cheeky monkey!

The general image of people in this zodiac sign is of always being smart, clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth.

In addition, their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life. Although they were born with enviable skills, they still have several shortcomings, such as an impetuous temper and a tendency to look down upon others.

Monkeys are frequently used as a decorative element, and I remember finding a remnant of a gorgeous Schumacher fabric with fun monkeys all over it. Here are some other examples that I found.

P Kaufmann: Elephant Monkey Floral Print


Sanderson’ Capuchinimage

House of Hackney Troop image

Caspari Papersimage

Lilly Pulitzer’s Monkey Troubleimage

De Gournay wallpaperimage

Hermes’ Jungle Life wallpaperimage

Herend Three Monkeysimage

Nina Campbell’s Barbary Toileimage

Now that it’s the Year of the Monkey, I am sure we’ll be seeing these cheeky fellows everywhere!

February 6, 2016

#ThisIsBaltimore: Winter, So Far!

This has been a busy week here at Pigtown*Design World HQ, as we call it around my house. Lots of evening meetings and events, especially one special one – the 27th Annual Groundhog Day Party. This year, it featured extensively on my Instagram feed because it was held in a gorgeous 1840’s townhouse in Baltimore.

A striking staircase and a stunning window.image

Several gorgeous fireplacesimageimage

The small red barn at Halcyon House Antiques. This is a week after the storms, and the snow’s down by about half.image

This was hour 25.5 of the storm. At this point, we were at about 24 inches. Eventually, we got about 30 inches.image

Housewerks Salvage looked like an old church boneyard.image

But it was pieces like this fireback from the British Embassy in DC that drew us. image

Honestly, I find the strangest things when I am searching through old medical journals at the office.image

Starting the new year on an inspiring note.image

Ending the year with a long lunch of Bloodys and oysters with my best friend from college. image

As always, thank you for reading Pigtown*Design!