Friday, May 29, 2009

My New Bench

My new breakfast room is almost finished. After searching for several months I found a wonderful nine foot long antique Belgian Table with an incredible iron base. The iron work is so interesting that I didn't want to hide the front of it with traditional chairs.
(I know the photo leaves a lot to be desired - taken on my cell phone)

So imagine my surprise when I saw this great bench at Wisteria and it was covered in a vintage grain sack like linen! The perfect size too!! So I ordered it!
It just arrived this morning and its perfect!!

I chose the red stripe versus the blue; but I really like them both!
Still waiting for my chandelier (Niermann Weeks) before the big reveal!
But wanted to share what I think is a wonderful find at a great price!
(and did I tell you I also had a 20% off coupon?)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Millie's House

It has been a crazy two weeks - My computer crashed and I was unable to blog or access any of my pictures. The kids were winding down with school and we had the end of the year projects due - I have learned more about The Boston Aquarium's Water Management Program and the wonderful state of Wisconsin than any Mother should know. Finally we are back on track - thanks so much for your patience.
So now after a very long wait we get to tour Millie's house in New Orleans!!! Millie and I have known each other almost 20 years. We have been through relocation's, births, deaths and natural disasters together. Through it all we have stayed good friends despite our distances. Millie grew up in New Orleans and like most, the draw to return to her hometown was so strong; she returned over 15 years ago and will never leave again! Millie is an interior designer, inspired by her own former designer (and dear friend), Jennifer Price of Dixon Smith in Baton Rouge. After Hurricane Katrina, like many others, Millie lost everything. So, when she was able to rebuild and start anew, she decided that since Jennifer had helped her build a such a great foundation, she wanted to give it a whirl on her own. Her results are outstanding! Let's have a look! As soon soon as you enter the foyer, you know you are in for a treat. The lovely limestone floors, beautiful sconces and botanical prints greet you. Look at the wonderful detail work on the sconces- aren't they beautiful?
The Dining Room has to be my favorite room in Millie's house. A wonderful large round dining table seats ten. Beautiful light fixtures, artwork and accessories make for a very enticing space.
Millie has a wonderful eye for artwork. My favorite are the French antique theater panels from Tara Shaw. The room seems neutral and warm at the same time - but how? Notice the red ceiling.
Here is a close up of the beautiful chandelier and ceiling. Notice the contemporary artwork on the wall to the left. A better picture can be seen above with Millie and I standing in front of it. I love the contrast of contemporary art with traditional furnishings.A close up of her buffet; notice the oyster plates and antique candlesticks.
Although the lighting is bad in this photo, I wanted you to see how you enter the dining room from the kitchen. Notice the gorgeous aubusson rug. Here is the eating area in Millie's kitchen. The lighting in this photo is so bad, but when I took it the kitchen was flooded with wonderful morning sun. I adored her lantern over her kitchen table. I loved the patina and the crown on top. I very well may have to copy her and put this in my own kitchen.
Her bathroom, tucked under her foyer staircase, was incredibly difficult to photograph and the pictures do not do it justice. It was a lovely little jewel box with silvery taupe wall paper and custom forged fixtures. Millie even had an iron artist create this toilet paper holder for her. New Orleans has wonderful artisans and because she has lived there all her life she has many connections and can create beautiful custom pieces. Finally the living room - I really love the elegance of this room. But truth be told, this is also the family room! Millie has three children and as such, created a room that is beautiful but also child friendly. Notice the gorgeous curtains, artwork and bookcases. I love how Millie painted the insides of the bookcases chocolate brown to highlight her collections.
Hidden in the fabulous amoire is a retrofitted custom bar. Fabrics are velvets and chenilles which hold up to children's wear and tear. Rugs are simple sisal which add texture and interest.

Perhaps the most stunning part of the space is the painting by Amanda Talley. What a wonderful feeling it brings to this room. I also love Millie's collection of framed black and white prints of her family.

I should have taken photos of the upstairs- Millie's bedroom is gorgeous, filled with antiques and custom Leontine linens. The children's bedrooms are also adorable! But I will save that for another day! If you are interested in contacting Millie please check out at MG Design and Consultation. Thank you for sharing your house with us, Millie!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lac de La Mer

I love beach cottages and while searching for a family get away I found the lovely Lac de La Mer on Prince Edward Island in Canada!  I immediately wanted to see more when the listing read "See Lac de la Mer in Country Living Magazine in July 2009."  No need to wait until July; let's have a peek inside.
'Lac de La Mer ('Lake in the Sea') is a charming island beach house situated on beautiful private salt water lake on the southeastern ocean shore of Northumberland Strait in Canada.  The main house has 5 bedrooms with water views, 3 1/2 baths , 2 fireplaces, 3 porches, designer bed linens, and time worn antiques. 
I like the red, white and blue color scheme.  Very beachy, but not too kitschy.  Classic black windsor chairs flank the farmhouse style table.  Notice the red buffet chest - This is a great way to spice up a flea market find and make it a focal point.
Another view  shows the fireplace.  Sisal rugs on floor add texture. I also really like the addition of the white twig rocker in the left corner.  
Interesting birch bed, a perfect choice for this little cottage by sea.  
In the upper bedroom the two twins beds are birch as well.  I know my children would enjoy this loft like room with tree house feeling.  This photo also gives you a good view of the pine flooring.  Look at the antique stained glass panels incorporated into the stairway design.  Clever!
I really like the red touches in each room.   Here the red printed toile throw and cotton curtains carry the red scheme and help the rooms all flow together. 
The first of two screen porches.  Here painted twig furniture in the adirondack style creates a wonderful retreat  for a leisurely nap or crossword puzzle.
The second porch has more traditional twig furniture.  You can see the lake just through the trees.
This private island location on beautiful South Lake is close to the white sandy beaches of the ocean which is warmed by the Gulf Stream. Nearby is the East Point Light House, Basin Head, the North Lake Harbor,  and seal and whale watching.  More information can be found at HomeAway. 
Very rarely do you find a rental property that such a warm and lovely decor - that feel as if  an old friend of the family just left you the keys for the weekend.  
No wonder Country Living was interested!! 

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Twig Accents

Country Living
I have always had a love affair with twig furniture. When I was in my twenties, I bought several beautiful pieces at flea market off the back of twig artist's truck. A few cushions from Pier One and viola I had living room set. My friends thought I was strange to use outdoor furniture inside, but I thought I was very chic.
McClellan Design
Of course over the years, my love for twig furniture has not diminished but I no longer feel the need to have a living room filled with it. I prefer it in a sun room or porch.
Oak Hill
Isn't this a very interesting and beautiful way to use of birch twigs and branches? This room almost looks as if it is built into the trees.
Notice the ceiling detail and pattern of the branches. Isn't it wonderful?
It looks as if each branch was hand cut to fit around the arched window.
I do love twig furniture as a accent though. I love the texture and organic feeling it brings into a room. Adding a small focal point like this side table can add some great texture to a room.
Here is another great example also from Pinch.
Here is designer John Pinch at his booth showing the versatility - Is it a table or a bench?
Style Files profiled exactly how to make a copy of the Pinch design at home. Click on the link for the directions. they are in Dutch, but pretty self explanatory.

Adding twig furniture is a simple way to bring the outdoors in and add some interest and texture to your space.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Lovely Mini Works of Art - Oyster Plates

What a pretty little dish! Are you familiar with Oyster Plates? If we were in Victorian times, many a blog post would have been done on these little works of art! Oysters became a favored menu item for formal dinners and were at the height of their popularity between 1810 and 1870. Naturally, the well appointed host or hostess had to serve them on dedicated oyster plates. I had an opportunity to learn even more about these beautiful dishes when I met with Keil Moss, the owner of Moss Antiques in New Orleans. Keil and Millie
Moss Antiques has been in business for four generations, since 1898. Located on the famous Royal Street in New Orleans, Moss Antiques is one of the largest dealers of these beautiful plates.
Oysters were served on the half shell and out of the shell. Most of the oyster plates treasured by collectors today are oyster plates that held oysters served without their shells. These lovely plates are among the most prized and valuable collectibles traded today.
Depending on the manufacturer, the motif and other factors, an oyster plate can be purchased for anywhere between $90.00 for a simple lower end plate, to more than $3,000.00 for a rare or Presidential plate. The Presidential plates are perhaps the most sought after of all oyster plates.
Here is some background on the Presidential plates from an excerpt of the book Oyster Plates, by Vivian and Jim Karsnitz.

"Many celebrities have had oyster plates made specifically for them, including America’s 19th president, Rutherford B. Hayes, who served from 1877-1881. He commissioned a state dining service for the White House, including oyster plates designed by Mr. Theodore R. Davis, an artist employed by Harper’s Weekly." Turkey plates have five wells which form a pattern that resembles the outline of a turkey, hence known as the ‘turkey oyster plates’ to collectors.
"The set was made by the Haviland Company of Limoges, France and this plate was produced by Haviland after producing the White House china. The Presidential set caused a stir among the public, with strong feelings running in support and in opposition. Mr. Davis patented his design on August 10, 1880. Because of the great expense incurred in making the White House china, he and Haviland sought to recover their expenses by selling similar sets to the public. These sets have the patent date on the backs along with the Presidential eagle. The original Presidential set does not."
"When this Presidential set was made the cost was $3,120.00, a figure the Congress felt was excessive.” Today just one of these Presidential turkey plates can bring the same amount as the entire set originally cost to produce."
Deep rich colors of reds and blues are most sought after. And, the more colors incorporated into a design the more valuable the plate. Also more detailed patterns and of course, maker's mark also increase the value. You can create a lovely display of oyster plates from such famous makers as Haviland/Limoges, Wedgewood, and Minton. The amazing variety of shapes, colors, and decoration makes for a spectacular wall or cabinet display in any decor.
Majolica oyster plates, probably because of their bright colors and unique styling, are also very popular Many designs featured shell patterns, sometimes including other sea life. Examples by Minton, Wedgwood, and George Jones- all famous English producers of majolica- can cost several hundreds of dollars
French faience from Quimper are equally pricey. Many lesser known factories produced unusual examples in majolica as well as porcelain and even glass plates. Haviland designs are numerous and quite collectible as are many from German and French factories. Unmarked plates tend to be less expensive as are the relatively rare 20th century examples.
Here are several examples available from Moss Antiques on 1st Dibs. Aren't they so lovely all displayed together?
Here they are sitting in a plate rack, like small paintings. So beautiful.
Here is a photo of a collection owned by Valorie Hart, self professed Plate Queen, of Visual Vamp. Look how beautiful they look hung in a collection on the wall of her office. Doesn't she have a wonderful eye?
If you'd like more information on these wonderful plates do read up on House and Home . Or visit Moss Antiques website - It's almost like being on Royal Street.

UPDATE  - See Oyster Plates in Month's Country Living Magazine!