The Garden Gate

Every year we plan what to do in the garden … this keeps me on track to make the decisions made to be thought out as I am prone to spur of the moment gardening decisions - a garden center full of lovelies is a hard thing to resist. We have planted white peonies in beds behind the gray lattice fence thus keeping seasonal white flowers present in this season and, what a joy they are.  This year we will plant a hedge of white hydrangeas around last years project, the patio - known also as the landing pad which is what it looked like until (step by step) the overhead structure was added. Hopefully this will grow to be a privacy screen which will produce more beautiful white cuttings in its season.

I think that large project number two will be to add a gate at the end of our drive way which is problematic because that is where the snow - there can be quite a bit of this - is pushed so the gate will have to be quite wide in order to be open in winter to allow for snow. This width will also dictate the style, making it a double door. Here are some of my like a lots and then the I wish.

Happy New Year - What is New?

I have been reading some blogs about what is in - what is out - on and on. The new things seem to be cerused floors which go hand in hand with a lighter,younger look which echoes the Swedish and painted furniture made so popular by Mileau and Veranda in the last several years. For me, however, a painted floor has much more style and polish and is capable of reflecting many moods and colors. It can also hide floors that are just ugly ( builders oak, for instance ) and add jolts of personality

This floor is painted in shades of white and brown and, I hope, has at least two coats of poly over it.

This Greek Key painted border connects two rooms which both have painted floors. Think how much more powerful this is than a wood threshold connecting two wooden floors. I think this is a wonderful way to lighten and brighten. A painted floor is also not an expensive option although a professional does need to do it unless one is both mathematically inclined and patient. I start out well and then just want it to be done, so I have learned not to go there.

All said and done, I think floors are a good way to bring in youth and color to "old fashioned" homes and those who are of a more modern inclination.

The Millennium decorators like much less clutter, mixed metals and modern light fixtures … I like traditional light fixtures, one metal per area and for a room to look as though it is comfortable, lived in and a reflection of the owners background,travels and family. Here are some ageless rooms I could live in:

While this room has dark walls, it reads a light space due to the amount of light from outside, the light floors, sofa and accessories. Someone here likes color, flowers, reads and collects. There are people friendly seating areas, places to put a drink, adequate lighting and personality.

While this would not be my choice of wallpaper or fabrics, this space makes a group welcome. It has collections, flowers, lighting and books. I like the light carpet and the pattern in it - my eyes go all over and find new treasures with each sweep. This should happen.

While the basics are covered here, I would like another pair of comfortable chats so six could nest. I don't think that a sofa seats more than two adults - so, another pair of chairs.I think I would also cover the TV. All of that said, this appears to be a comfortable upper hall gathering area which is light, has an interesting variety of fabrics, a food / foot place, collections and lighting.

In this light ( floors and walls ) living room, I am welcomed by the delicious curtain fabric which moves like silk. There are cozy seating areas, the eye is drawn around by various paintings and wall decor. There are flowers, candles and a few collections but I miss seeing books. Love the chintz but not the side chair fabric - oh, well.

And here are the books, all nestled into a living room with lots of options from curling up on the chaise to desk work. There is a light background into which interesting fabrics have been placed with plenty of eye candy. This room makes me want to explore it and calls me to linger a bit - ask a question or two. Someone is home.

So there - I have said it again. Most of the "old fashioned " rooms call to me to come in, settle down and be true to whatever the path was that led here - collections, memories - whatever. That is the essence of home. May yours nourish you in this new year.

The Holidays are Coming

It is one of those ready or not yearly events - the Holidays will be upon us before we know it. This is my finish whatever it is you need to do and forget about the rest sort of week. The malls and local stores are not too crowded - a boon for those of us who much actually feel the fabric and see the color - there are many things I cannot do on line and, actually very few that I can. I think this makes me an old foogie - oh, well.

I also have not begun to decorate. My son who lives in New York will be coming home the end of the week and that is when we will pull it all together and decorate. Over the years our tree has evolved into a bit of a nest theme and I am happy with that - and that they come home to roost for the holidays - and to eat.

He is a little cutie - no? He is the only decoration out  and he sits on a  figure in my dining room who will soon be holding a string of white doves. For now she is  clutching a group of gilded rosettes from an old tassel.

Oh - and there is a boxwood wreath on the door. I am sure you are busy getting ready too! Lets enjoy the season!


Just a few weeks ago I was in France shopping  with a friend for her antiques business. It was a whirlwind visit, up early, site - seeing late and bargaining with the best ... we came away from those hectic and exhausting days without even one sour experience in spite of the fact that we were often mistaken in our understanding of prices and did a lot of scribbling on our palms. This, not,no,yes.

So, the little gestures were all kind and helpful to us and we needed a lot of help and asked a lot of questions. Where is a pharmacy - what do you call aspirin .. what is a large coffee called - what is the check-out time. In other words, we needed to communicate all of the everyday aspects of life and we received smiles and answers and the absolute feeling that while were strangers if we asked, we would be helped.

And so,it pains each of us who want to be global friends to see the pain in Paris, in all of France and we ache for you - and,Thanks for the memories!

As dawn is breaking, we are searching for antiques.

We are ready for the "starting bell" - ready for the search. I thought it interesting to note that most of the buyers and sellers are middle aged. Have you noticed  that?

The flip side is that nothing can be put out until the bell rings either.

There was lots of good shopping.

Again, a wonderful experience, good shopping and great people - Thanks, again and hope to be back soon.

A Boston Design Center Visit

The nearest design center to me is in Boston. It is currently being renovated to accommodate retail and trade showrooms. This has made for a large amount of change in the past months as many of the showrooms have begun to relocate to accommodate this change.

Why do designers go to the design center you ask? This is home for the fabric and trim lines we use and we depend on them to have large and current samples, delete obsolete patterns and have fresh ideas. Here we can invite clients to test drive the various furniture lines, show rug and carpet samples - these are just a few of the services we depend on. The showrooms, in addition to this, have their own personalities and are design meccas in their own right.

These photos are shots taken on my last Boston visit to the Webster showroom.

An example of their fabulous lighting.

I like this bench but love the sculptural melons ...great form and color.

A display showing furniture styles, colors as well as porcelain and lighting - many choices.

Again, choices.

Love the way the buttons are rosettes on the chair back cushion.

Hope this has shown a bit of the choices at the BBC.

Books for the Holidays

One of my favorite gifts for the holidays is a new book. In the fall, I can usually count on there being some new releases of decorating and gardening books just in time for giving - and receiving.What is not to love about a new book after the flurry is over to curl up with?

This years timely selections included Rooms for Living by Suzanne Rheinstein and Parish Hadley Tree of Life. I pre-ordered these and was most excited when these arrived and, I must say, got the flu just in time to have time to settle down and and read them both.

There is a real connection for me when I find a home book (decorating) which I love. It becomes a friend whose pages are turned time and time again for comfort, inspiration and admiration. Suzanne's first book will never be a friend but it is certainly admired and is inspirational and so I had hoped this book would be more of the same. I found it to be a most unlikely candidate to snuggle with again.

I am most tired of this severe design. Rooms are meant to be lived in - where is the collection, the stuff of life in these perfect palaces? I wish for just a bit of fun. I can remember ( or is it just my youth?) when how I would envy those happy homes in magazines - colorful, full of life and pets and whatever. The perfect rooms don't make me want to move into them, emulate them, but to run. Hey, we all have stuff - don't we?

The Parish Hadley book disappointed too. Who cares who worked there and what their work looks like? They are all terribly talented designers and decorators  but they are not Parish or Hadley. For some reason, I misunderstood the concept of this book and thought that the tree of life concept were the ideas passed down and that the scope was a bit wider. Still, there are some beautiful rooms and, hey,maybe they have a person living somewhere nearby. I hope so.

I did order Carolyne Roehm's At Home in the Garden ( big and heavy) and Mrs. Howards Room by Room.Will report back.

French Stockings

Lat week I was in a small town in France and when my friend and I decided not to go out to dinner (too tired); we popped into a small department store to pick up a boxed dinner. A major difference here between US and French and English shops is that a small department store may well be a grocer and a variety store - and I do mean a moderately nice store too.

While she was grocery shopping, I was observing the rest of the store which was divided down the middle - half stockings, hair goods and make up and the other half very nice silk scarves, cashmere sweaters, gloves, shoes, coats and the like.

Back to the stockings - this was a major department and clearly important to the local women as there were more than four aisles of stockings in all weaves, colors, and textures with generous samples attached for trial. In addition to this were socks and leggings but not as many. Clearly, this small town has a female population who dresses and pays attention to their apparel. I was impressed.