Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Found Item

Last night while cleaning out an old cabinet I came across this sweet little watercolor that Dana painted many years ago.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tracey Porter

Last night we had our first frost and the dahlias that would have been lovely in the living room did not survive. The thought of these sweet pink babies scumming to Jack Frost was more than unbearable, so in they came.
A few months ago there was a post on this blog that has been deleted, but it talked about the green linen Laura Ashley fabric that will one day be turned into curtains for the kitchen and great room and upholstery for our sofa and love seat. Well a seamstress and upholsterer has been located and the time is drawing near.

During the fall cleaning and organizing that has been taking place around here this sweet little Tracey Porter piece that has been holding keepsakes in my bedroom closet made its way down stairs to the kitchen setting off the predictable chain of events.
The red is on its way out to make room for the blue and green with touches of pink in the kitchen. The green linen curtains won't be far behind. The pink will be kept to a minimum because of the color of the wood cabinetry that is not nearly as orange as it appears in photographs but the orange tone is still there. With time it is deepening to a warmer fruit wood tone but a bit of pink goes a long way. We have the same issues with the oak stair case but that is another post all together. When looking at all the old homes in my English Country books they have these beautiful sturdy woods that have mellowed to such charming warm tones which reminds me to not be so picky and just carry on. God willing, we will be around long enough to see the transformation.

Tracey Porter has a new blog on her website that you might enjoy. When I had the store Tracey Porter's items were some of our best sellers. We sold her dishes, lamps, small furniture, pillows and rugs like crazy. One of our best customers and my good friend had her powder room painted by a local artist to resemble the end covers of one of her books that is fabulous. Maybe if we ask nicely Sheryl will go over and take pictures to share with all of us of Cindy's amazing Tracey Porter powder room. Tracey herself would approve.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Home Office Project

How to make a home office functional and attractive for a couple to share? That is the question. Last week John declared that all the junk in the office had to go, which means he is ready to tackle the project. This week I dismantled and cleaned out everything and last night we headed out to look at furniture.

First we went to Art Vans but my contractor husband didn't like the quality of the pieces that Dana had suggested that we look at. All righty then, off we went to another furniture store, me thinking that when he sees the prices he will reconsider the AV pieces that were really cute. Wrong, he made a beeline over to the most beautiful grouping that I knew looked familiar to me. It turns out that it is the exact brand that we both admired in the Horchow catalogue that was featured in a room that at the time we thought would be a nice way to add interest to the office by adding the white wainscot ting and painting the walls that blue gray. They gave us all the size and price information and home we came to make sure it will fit properly. Well, we are still working on that but this has been such a good lesson for me.

As a woman of a certain age and experience I often think that I have it all figured out which is so wrong on so many levels and I repent of it and ask God to help me with that struggle. Here again is a perfect example of his merciful guidance. God has more in store for us than we could ever imagine for ourselves. If we will obey and let him lead things will work out better than we could have figured it out. That AV office furniture would have been just fine but I let John lead as the head of our household, which is often so hard to do, but praise God, my good turned out to be His better and best. Thank you heavenly Father for your Word that guides me.

Who knows if the furniture will work out and frankly I don't care. A table, chair, the computer and my books are all I really need but the good Lord is in charge and for that I am forever thankful.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

New York Social Diary

The New York Social Diary has some interesting articles about homes and their owners. This bedroom of Betty Sherrill's was one picture that caught my eye. There are also stories about Charlotte Moss and Carolyne Roehm with beautiful pictures of their homes that you might enjoy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Paneled Rooms On The Internet

Louis XV Living Room

Louis XV Foyer

Cherry Living Room

Molding Detail

Did you know you could have a paneled room designed on the Internet? The idea of a beautifully designed pine paneled library has always been appealing to me. Scouring books on classical architecture and sketching well proportioned rooms used to be a pleasant past time. With the dawn of the Internet the thought of trying to figure out how to have people send me their room specifications and I would in turn create a lovely arrangement for them weighed heavily in my mind.

Well that time has come and gone. If you don't keep up with those skills they quickly fade form memory. The only thing I still remember, which is probably not even true to classic design is that the cornice, forming the transition between wall and ceiling should be one fourteenth the dimension of the entire height of the wall and that a well proportioned room should be twice as long as it is wide, three quarters as long as it is wide or two thirds as long as it is wide. Again, real decorators or architects will probably find error with these simple rules of thumb that I have carried with me over the years, but as a general principal they have seemed to work for me.

The paneled rooms above are from the website Architectural Paneling, Inc. They say on the site that "You can send or fax your floor plan with ceiling height and functional requirements, as well as any style preferences you may have to: Email:". They will design and build you the paneled room of your dreams.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dramatic Master Suite

In contrast to the calm serene feel of the Arcadia cottage common areas, the master suite reflects the vibrant personalities of the owners. The clear, deep green is punctuated with black and the abundance of white lightens the mood.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Guest House Before Construction Tour

This week the construction of the guest house finally is getting started. Here are the before pictures that I talked about sharing a couple weeks ago before the computer problems.

Sun Porch

Living Room


Dad has already firmed up the drooping bead board ceilings in most of the cottage. Dana has done the design layout on her computer for her Grandpa and the builders started on Monday implementing the plan.

This week she figured out the name of the consignment shop up north, Now & Again, and called them to reserve an old center island for the kitchen which is a pretty apple green with white trim and a maple butchers block top. The floor in the kitchen will be apple green & white and the cupboards will be white. She is using white subway tile for the back splash with a basket weave design over the stove that has bits of the green in it.

For the bathroom she chose an aqua mosaic glass tile combination for walls and the floor. It is a small room so she is going with a corner shower stall and pedestal sink and a little linen closet for storage.

In the living areas she is doing a white or pale color background and refinishing the wood floors in a walnut color. We have been picking up old furniture here and there as we go to furnish it.

Hope you enjoyed this little before tour of Mom & Dad's guest house. I will post pictures of the progress and our furnishing finds as we go along. As I am reorganizing here at home I'm setting aside several items that will work with the furnishings like my Jadite collection of apple green dishes. It looks like they might finally have a good home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fresh Flowers

One of the things that started my project was the desire to put away some of my silk flower arrangements that were starting to look tired and add real plants and fresh things from the yard. We will see how that goes. I've never had that much luck with plants but now that I'm home more there will be more time to tend them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Keeping It Real

Looking at beautiful pictures of homes is inspiring but the reality of those beautiful homes is that it takes many homemaking skills to keep them that way. There are meals to be prepared, laundry to gather, sort, wash, dry, iron, put away............and on it goes to make them function to meet the needs of the people that live in them. If a project is taken on outside of the normal routine that it takes to make a house a home a whole new can of worms is opened. Case in point, the pictures that you see here. And now I have to run to get to the the dentist in 15 minutes...........

Monday, October 15, 2007

Something's Gotta Give Inspired Cottage

Here are a few more pictures of the cottage on Lake Arcadia that Sheryl so beautifully wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Our friend Maurine loves the movie Somethings Gotta Give so when it came time to redo their cottage they kept that movie in mind as their inspiration. This cottage is in no way a copy of the SGG house but the feel is there. They spent more than four years designing this very personal summer home to include the things that they love and to reflect Mo's gift for impeccable housekeeping and organization.
Isn't this a pretty cupboard in her kitchen? She has three recycle centers in here, 2 in the kitchen itself and another in the service area that Sheryl wrote about.
This little screened in porch is just off the kitchen. The green painted floor draws you outside through the French doors. There was another little white wicker chair in the seating area on the right but we drug it outside for more seating on the deck. Notice the little lamp on the table on the left. All of the light fixtures in here are from thrift or consignment shops. She did not want any harsh overhead lighting but rather preferred old sconces and lamps that add to the charm and ambiance through out the cottage.
These two chairs in front of the entertainment center are on swivels and upholstered in durable indoor outdoor fabric. The black entertainment center has two pull out refrigerated drawers for ice and cold drinks. She has accented the calm colors in the common areas of the cottage with black by using black hardware for the door knobs and hinges as well as on the entertainment center.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Ivy Covered Cottage

A couple weeks ago I promised to post pictures of some of my favorite houses. Shortly after I took the pictures my computer broke down and I'm still having problems with the text but I did want to get these pictures up for you. These are pictures of my #1 favorite house that just happens to be my Mom & Dad's house

Sunny Pictures

Living Room
Dining Room

New Computer

Our new computer is hooked up now. Even with my gratitude for having this bright new shinny beauty my frustration level is at a ten.................So many new things to learn so please excuse the mess around here while we work out the kinks and get things up and running. This moments frustration is trying to go back into the text to punctuate and getting two crossed lines on the prompt instead of a straight line to let me type.
Enough boring technical gab. On the the good stuff. Enjoy the photo above, that was supposed to be On to the good stuff............ This is Mom & Dad's front door. Their house was built in 1935. They are the third family to inhabit this pretty English Cottage which is more than likely where I get my fondness for the style and my romantic personality.
Back in 1956 when Mom & Dad made the trek 30 miles west to open a new branch of the family business, not exactly pioneers but it seemed like a long way from home at the time, Dad made Mom a promise. That promise was that one day he would buy her the pretty cottage above. Long story short, many years later he did. After years in a Chicken Coop, an apartment and a sweet little colonial he made good on his word.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

~Birthday Dream Ideas~

Option # 1: We could go to NYC, stay overnight at The Carlyle and visit Charlotte Moss Townhouse.
Option # 2: Chicago, overnight at The Drake, lunch at the Ralph Lauren Grill.

Really great deals for flight on Travelocity could off set the extravagant cost of the accommodations ~

These two options are probably more like my own dream birthday choices. Sheryl, I'm really looking for your choices. Care to chime in?

This year several of our friends are celebrating what I call our mini-milestone birthdays, Cindy calls it more appropriately turning "double nickles". It's your turn Sheryl, what's your pleasure?

Anybody else? What would your dream birthday be like?


Sheryl, what would you like to do for your birthday this year??????????????????

Thursday, October 04, 2007


Here are a couple of little fuzzy pictures that I scanned on to this old computer of my old cottage kitchen.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

If It's Wednesday.....

Most of the neighborhood is more than likely making sauce. I haven't seen it yet this year but last year, on trash pick up day shortly after the full moon during the harvest season, there were so many tomato boxes on the curbs that you had to navigate carefully to avoid toppling the huge stacks of empty crates. Since I've been away quite a bit I may have missed the annual ritual.

My lovely neighborhood is of mixed ethnicity with a heavy lean toward Italian American with the occasional Greek, African or Irish American in the mix. We live on the northern east side of Metro Detroit which is famous, or infamous, for having a large number of Italian neighborhoods. This was all very strange for me when I first came here four years ago. Now four years later and 20 pounds heavier it is beginning to feel like the natural flow of things.

I've learned a lot from all these wonderful people but today is Wednesday and I'm making sauce so let's talk food. There are so many markets down here where you can get the freshest fruits and vegetables imaginable. The bakeries are loaded with fresh bread daily and the desserts are beyond, beyond. They cook seasonally and have very little in their refrigerators but display what they are fixing that day in big bowls on their counter tops like beautiful eggplants and peppers of assorted shapes and colors. People still come home for lunch and Nonna, the Grandma, cooks for the whole family.

They eat very little meat and reserve it for the evening meal that is served much later than I am used to, dinner was always at 6:00 when I was growing up. Coffee with milk or espresso for breakfast. A fresh cooked vegetable dish with bread, or maybe pasta for lunch. A small amount of meat with pasta often, veggies and bread for dinner. The portions must be much smaller than I tend to consume of all this delicious stuff because they are very tiny people.

Probably shouldn't generalize about an ethnic group and I'm not, but on my street on Wednesday were making sauce ~~~~~~~.

The photo above is one of my favorite cookbooks via Amazon.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Charlotte Moss

My love for Charlotte Moss has been on going now for well over 10 years. Since my computer is completely dead and it looks like there will be a new one on the horizon soon, any suggestions for what kind to get would be appreciated, it is impossible to post the pictures that I took last weekend that I promised earlier. In the mean time you can see some of the weekends pictures on Sheryl's blog

Back to Charlotte. I can in no way compare myself to her but after reading her interview on this morning I can relate to her even more. She attended interior design school but dropped out after deciding that she couldn't draw well enough which is exactly what I did. She went on to study a new area and I studied business. She went on to Wallstreet and I went into banking. OK, so she was on Wallstreet and I was a new mother working as a bank teller, but hey it was banking ~ After becoming disillusioned with Wallstreet she went into retailing and opened her own shop. After the birth of my first daughter at age 25 my friend Pam and I opened our first shop. From there the similarities begin to fade. She went on to become a famous Interior Designer and author. I raised my three babies and dabbled in retail for the better part of 20 years and did some interior decorating for people when they insisted but mostly later regretted ;)

When her books first started coming out I became an instant fan. A Passion for Detail was first published in 1991 and it was love at first sight for me. I started collecting old books, looked forward to having a green stripped dining room with wallpaper like the paper on the back of the covers of the book, got a calico Caviller King Charles spaniel & planned on another, worked for Pat Wood who sold staffordshire lamps in her shop like Charlotte, collected old framed Victorian botanical prints, majolica, needlepoint pillows and silver.

Creating A Room came out in 1995 while we were decorating our home and cottage. Both of her books strongly influenced the decor of both. In Creating A Room, Steinmeyer's illustrations really brought Charlotte's visions to life for me and probably many others. I loved the collaboration of Charlotte the visionary with James the illustrator, both artists of immense talent.

Steinmeyer's illustration on pages 39 and 40 of A Passion For Details is still one of my favorite rooms. His work on A Sunny and Sophisticated Living Room form CAR is where I got the idea for the curtains in our house we were working on. With the book in hand,I approached a couple of gal's that had work for Laura Ashley in NYC that had moved back home to our area, to help me. My first choice for fabric was a Rose Cummings rose printed lined that turned out to be way out of my budget so we settled on a sweet Waverly chintz that I love to this day. The girls did a great job that turned out to be more difficult that we had planned. It was a difficult install, so difficult that when I had them resized to fit the house we are in now they totally botched the job and my beautiful Charlotte inspired curtains look more like something out of a bad Victorian reproduction job. Alas, I still love the fabric so there they hang in their lame interpretation.

Charlotte Moss will forever be one of my favorite designers and I am thrilled to see that she has become so successful and influential today with her classic design and books now reaching a whole new generation of devotees,even the ones that are so strongly devoted to the Domino style. Congratulations Charlotte and best wishes for future success.

I really wish I would not have cut up my copy of Creating A Room so much. Today these two books are selling on her site for $150 each since they are now out of publication. Even at those prices I would buy them again and look forward to her next projects.