Thursday, October 23, 2014

An Abandoned Parisian Apartment

This is one of my all time favorite stories.  It is 4 years old by now so if you have already read about it, move along.

Imagine finding out there is an apartment in Paris that has been abandoned since the early 1940's. Imagine it is now going to be opened after 70 years. Imagine YOU get to be the one to unlock the door and walk in. Imagine it is gorgeous and has beautiful furniture, exquisite architectural detail, the finest art work, textiles and collections. Imagine who must have lived there.

Well come along with me and experience the magic of unlocking that door, stepping over the threshold and seeing all of this...








This in fact did happen back in 2010 in a busy Right Bank neighborhood in Paris.  Back in the early 1940's a woman by the name of Marthe De Florian fled Paris for the south of France when World War II began. As a result, her city apartment was left completely unchanged since the 40s (she never again returned to Paris).  

Marthe De Florian was born Mathilde Heloise Beaugiron who was a seamstress later turned actress.  Some say she was a demi-monde.


The apartment was discovered after the owner passed away, when her estate was in charge of finding and making an inventory of her personal assets.  The team that stumbled upon the untouched apartment for the first time compared the experience to “stumbling into the castle of sleeping beauty” which was eerily silent and covered in cobwebs.





The amazing find recollects life in pre-war Paris, complete with high wooden ceilings, giant vanities, a wood stove, and the typical French decor that was typical of the time.  Books and newspapers lined the shelves, gold curtains draped the windows, and a luxurious dressing table held hairbrushes, perfumes, and candle stubs that seemed to await the return of a very glamorous woman. Against floral wallpaper and wainscoting, a stuffed ostrich draped with a shawl stood above two pre-war stuffed animals—a very retro-looking Mickey Mouse and Porky the Pig. The formal dining room, with a low-hanging chandelier over the table, wood stove, and stone sink, was still fully stocked with glassware and pots and pans.
The apartment was dusted and photographed with all of the original decorations and items left intact.








(Source)  'Olivier Choppin-Janvry, the gentleman who lead the discovery said his heart skipped a beat when he caught sight of a stunning painting of a woman in a pink muslin evening dress.


The painting was by Giovanni Boldini (a famous Italian portrait painter) and the subject a beautiful Frenchwoman who turned out to be the artist's former muse and whose granddaughter it was who had left the flat uninhabited for more than half a century. 
The muse was Marthe de Florian, an actress with a long list of ardent admirers, whose fervent love letters she kept wrapped neatly in ribbon and were still on the premises. Among the admirers was the 72nd prime minister of France, George Clemenceau, but also Boldini.
The expert had a hunch the painting was by Boldini, but could find no record of the painting. "No reference book dedicated to Boldini mentioned the tableau, which was never exhibited," said Marc Ottavi, the art specialist he consulted about the work.
When Mr Choppin-Janvry found a visiting card with a scribbled love note from Boldini, he knew he had struck gold. "We had the link and I was sure at that moment that it was indeed a very fine Boldini".
He finally found a reference to the work in a book by the artist's widow, which said it was painted in 1898 when Miss de Florian was 24.
The starting price for the painting was €300,000 but it rocketed as ten bidders vyed for the historic work. Finally it went under the hammer for €2.1 million, a world record for the artist.'




So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed our journey. 

(There is lots of information online about this story, I have pulled from here and there to put this post together.  I did source one section as it was a direct cut and paste.)  
I love reading comments from readers---make my day and leave one.
Just click on "comments" below.
Fondly,
-Lisa
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Soup Night

Every year for the past 6 or 7 years I have hosted what I call "soup night" at my house.  It is always in the fall and always features 3 soups (which is inclusive of stew, chili or chowder).  The soups are accompanied by appetizers, desserts and of course beverages.

Guests are close family and a few close friends.  We keep it informal and treat it almost as an open house-everyone eats when they want to, some stand and others sit.  Lots of sampling of soups go on.




This year I really focused on seasonal foods so my 2 soups were a Butternut 
Squash Sausage Soup topped with fried sage and the second was a Lemon Chicken Orzo.  My cousin brought a hearty Potato & Corn Chowder with toppings on the side.


That's A LOT O' CHICKEN!!!   I cheat and use roasted chicken from the grocery store---it rocks!





Some of my favorite things....wooden bowl is handmade and signed by the best friend of my Aunt.  She left it to me when she passed away.  She also gave me the wooden salt bowl.  Cutting board was made my my cousin's husband and was a wonderful Christmas gift years ago.


Appetizers included a Fig, Ricotta, Honey Crostini.  I got the recipe from Tina over at The Enchanted Home,  a pretty silver platter of Fresh Fruit, White Cheddar Popcorn compliments of Smart Food (popcorn of any kind is always a hit).  





 I also included something sweet---S'mores on a Stick!   It's a party so who says we can't have dessert as an appetizer?  Recipe can be found here.  I did alter this recipe a bit--I only did one dip, not two and I did not use white chocolate.  Super easy recipe that would also make a great party favor individually packed in a cellophane envelope.





Try a soup night for yourself -- it is fun, comforting and your guests will thank you!


Beginning to set up the 'soup station'.  I used a warming tray since I wasn't using crock pots.  A few stacks of bowls and basket of soup spoons is all you need for this simple main course.




This side of the counter is set up for the breads---I kept it simple compliments of my Mom, pumpkin bread with pumpkin cream cheese and a garlic rosemary bread.




















I love to label food when entertaining a crowd, helps me as a hostess so I don't have to keep answering questions.
 I leave you with these last two pics....the chaos of a kitchen in motion and where my dog Lucy is when I cook...








Fondly,
-Lisa

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Decorating Challenges



Sometimes we have a BEAUTIFUL piece of furniture that does not lend itself to sharing its space with other beautiful pieces.  Today's post is specifically about that subject.

Because a better part of my home is filled with dark wood and because we presently seem to live in a time where trends are light and bright and white, I do succumb to wanting my interior not to get swallowed up by a dark abyss of beautiful wood.  

The specific piece of furniture I am discussing in this post is a massive MAHOGANY BOOKCASE.

I have already removed the shelves on the right side in this picture.






This piece, as much as it looks at home in this space, did not come with the house.  It was a craigslist find and was originally a built-in in someone else's home.  The mahogany matches all of the mahogany in our main hallway and looks as if it were built for the space.

The challenge is because it is so large and because it has glass leaded doors, it is tough to see what is displayed on the shelves.  Another challenge is making sure this space does not look too dark.

My solution came from a friend who was over one day listening to my woes about the piece.  Her suggestion was to do what was done years ago when many of these cases were made.  Line the back with linen sized to fit on tension rods.  I loved the idea because I like the look of gathered fabric and the idea of adding texture and light.  Not to mention it was an easy, inexpensive fix.  ALSO-it is not permanent.

This was a project I tackled myself and found great satisfaction in doing.  I could not be happier with the results!  This accomplished everything I was hoping to.














Photo Bomb







Long way to go with styling it but all in due time...










I think I am going to do the same with another one of my favorite pieces.  Right now it is lined with a nice paper, but I think I will replace it with fabric.


I hope this idea may have helped a few people facing a similar decor challenge.  Give it a try

Fondly,
-Lisa











Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall Arrangements

I'm hosting a couple of PARTIES at my house over the next few weeks.  This is one of my all time favorite things to do, entertain.  I love the planning...researching recipes, creating the Menu, envisioning how I will display all of the food and decor to go along with it.  For me the prep is just as fun as the actual get together.

I started looking at FALL ARRANGEMENTS last night and thought I would post some of my Pinterest finds because they are just too gorgeous not to share.  The end of the post has pics of arrangements from my home.

Be forewarned, this is a very PICTURE HEAVY post!













BE creative!








Blue and white makes orange POP!
I love mixing these colors this time of year.





One of my all time favorite styles, FARMHOUSE.
Love the low profile of this arrangement. 




LAYERS--by simply adding a silver platter this arrangement goes from pretty to gorgeous!











Once again, nothing like farmhouse style to make a home feel warm & inviting.
The addition of feathers adds texture and brings the OUTDOORS in.





Refined & ELEGANT
















One of my all time FAVORITES

































The remaining are my arrangements so far this fall...








Don't forget you can take a wreath and use it as a CENTERPIECE.  This wreath has
spent many a year hanging on a door in the fall but this year I wanted something
beefy on my dining room table.  Fill it with something seasonal and you end up
with a brand new centerpiece without spending a dime.






VELVET pumpkins are a favorite of mine.



My back porch is so cozy, I try to keep the decor warm and inviting as this is how most people access the house.









Hope you enjoyed this post and more importantly, I hope you leave with some great ideas for yourself.

Fondly,
-Lisa