Tuesday, December 30, 2014

And With The Blink Of An Eye...

...Christmas was over.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2015 just around the corner.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tartan, Tartan How I Love Thee.

So I have fallen in love with anything tartan.  Last year I saw the photo below and immediately pinned it because I just knew I had to recreate a similar look in my house somewhere.  Well the other day while decorating our living room it hit me like a ton of bricks---I had the perfect place to recreate this look.
Have a look for yourself. 

This is my inspiration photo, so quaint and cozy.
Photo found via google tartan search--no direct source link could be found :(

This is my piece that was begging for a holiday makeover.

This is how it came out!

Exactly the look I was yearning for.

This was a super simple, super budget friendly project that took all of 20 minutes to complete once the fabric was purchased.  I do not recall how much the fabric was but I know it was under $10.  I did also make a matching pillow cover for the same room with the remains.

For the shelf backing all I did was remove the shelves, measure the back and cut the fabric (leave it rough because no one sees the edges).   I used 3 3 inch self adhesive Velcro strips evenly spaced at the top to adhere the fabric.  Replace the shelves, style them, add some light and voila a festive piece of furniture.

This backing will be removed later in the winter and replaced with the same method using linen.  

I'll post on the rest of the room decorated for Christmas soon.

Ho Ho Ho!!!


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Monday, December 8, 2014

Liberace Christmas Tree

I have a tacky gorgeous silver Christmas tree in our piano room.  Isn't it ok to have a Liberace tree in a piano room?

Well I am superbly happy with our Liberace tree.


Saturday, December 6, 2014

My Living Room Christmas Mantel

Such a busy holiday season filled with entertaining, shopping, decorating, baking, reflecting and what I like to call controlled chaos.

On this quiet drizzly day as I rest up for a non-stop next few weeks I walked around my house and snapped a few pictures with my iPhone.  I thought I would share just a few today on my blog of my living room mantel.

I hope you are all taking time to take care of yourselves this exciting time of year...


Monday, October 27, 2014

Mid-Century Onyx Coffee Table

I take my time furnishing and decorating my home.  I will wait... and wait... and wait to find the perfect piece.  I won't force anything into a space or buy something just for the sake of filling an empty spot.

Case in point, we've lived in our house for close to 2 years now and the coffee table we were using in our living room did not work.  It worked perfectly in our previous living room but here it was very out of scale.  My living room is good size with high ceilings and substantial furniture so our existing coffee table looked a bit shy and timid.

Nothing spoke to me until last weekend when the stars aligned and I made eye contact with the edge of a table amidst piles of amazing estate sale furnishings housed in a huge barn in Hampton NH.  

Introducing my new coffee table...

We had spent the weekend away at the coast with dear friends and discovered an auction house on the way home.  Within seconds we screeched the car to a halt and turned in.

The new (actually mid-century) coffee table is onyx and I can't even lift one end on my own because this little beast weighs a ton.  It is an amazing mosaic of onyx with the exact colors of my living room decor.

The brass railings and fluted legs are darling and help balance out the heaviness of the onyx.

Below is the former coffee table.  While I absolutely love this, it really didn't work and is tough to realize in a picture.  The size was just too small.  

It has a great story and I do have a final resting spot for this little fella however it will go back to it's original purpose, it will be a banana box-no longer a coffee table.  This was built to transport bananas starting back in April of 1937.  The box is stamped with the date 4-37.  Mr. 16 L Street and I discovered it a few years back and were smitten.  We were both born, raised and presently live within an hour of Boston so it meant even more to us.  

It has taken on a beautiful aged color that is deep and warm.  The font is perfectly 'retro' and the galvanized strapping is the icing on the cake.  

We turned it into a coffee table by adding vintage casters and topped it with glass.  All of that will be removed and it will either sit atop our kitchen cabinets or atop our bedroom armoire so it will still be cherished.  

A special shout out to a good friend who drove back out with me to go pick this piece up!  

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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.)  
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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...


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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