Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thank you, PVE!

Probably the best part about blogging is the friendships that happen between bloggers. Along the way I've made quite a few friends, but the first was Patricia from PVEdesign. We met while I was in NYC a few months back and toured the Cooper Hewitt museum together to see an exhibit on interior watercolors (read the original post HERE).
Well imagine my surprise when a pretty little package comes my way from...PVE!Such a cute little card with a sketch of a jacket (just like the one I wear to work everyday!)Well, she must be a faithful reader of my blog, because she knew that not only did I LOVE snoopy but I collect kitschy hallmark ornaments. This is especially notable because it's a NYC snoopy -where she and I met!
Here it is on my tree, see, not too late, Patricia!
Thank you so much, Patricia -your thoughtful gift really made my day! Thanks for all the work you put into your blog and for being a great friend! If you haven't already become a faithful reader of her blog, visit her today HERE!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Chateau d'Anet

Beautiful picnic, right? but check out the background. The Chateau d'Anet in Normany was originally built for Diane de Poitiers, the mistress to Henri II in the early 16th century as a gift from the king on the land of her former husband's estate. Interestingly enough, she was 20 years his senior, talk about cougars!Her remains were laid to rest in the chapel on the estate after her death in 1566 but were later removed during the revolution. The original grave can be seen below. While the chateau escaped being pilaged and burned during the french revolution, the estate's entire contents were put up for sale. Later, most of the chateau was torn down with interesting pieces being salvaged to be put into the famous Ecole des Beaux-Arts. After World War II these elements were given back to the chateau. the chapel on the estate
The chateau was faithfully restored first in the 1840s by the Comte Adolphe de Caraman and later in the 1860s by Ferdinand Moreau who also began to collect items originally belonging to the chateau. Moreau's family still own and live on the estate but it can be toured. In 1851 it was declared a historical monument. The main dining room, seen in the 2 photos above, is really spectacular. Beautiful paneling with tons of gilding. However, the part of the chateau I really love is in the caretakers 'cottage'. The dining room housed there is less grand, but equally as elegant.
The doors opening to the garden really make the room for me. The paneling isn't bad either!
Even the ceiling is interesting with a polychromed treatment.
I thought the flowers below, gathered from the estate were just icing on the cake. To see more pictures of the estate and also pictures of an event there, please visit New York Social Diary
Visit the official website of the Chateau HERE for visiting times and prices.
Pictures from Classic Entertaining by Henrietta Spencer-Churchill and

Monday, December 29, 2008

so Habitually Chic!

While visiting family in Pittsburgh for the holidays, I had the pleasure of meeting Heather from Habitually Chic. Here we are in front of our favorite store, Toadflax. She doesn't think the picture turned out well, but I think she's beautiful, don't you?We intended to spend the afternoon shopping on Walnut Street in Shadyside but rainy weather forced us inside for drinks. She was with one of her best friends since childhood and we had a really fun time. Toadflax carries an assortment of gift items as well as being a really beautiful flower shop. Both of us agreed, if we opened up our own stores, it would be precisely like Toadflax! The side window had this charming collection of owls, I especially love the one that lights up below -don't you? What a great nightlight!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

St Louis crystal

I'm coveting these St Louis crystal tumblers and glasses featured in Classic Entertaining I mentioned on Wednesday. I never really liked colored crystal-but a large portion of this book is devoted to them. I think I appreciate them more in a rainbow spectrum such as this and not matched. I'm rethinking in COLOR

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day after Christmas leftovers?

This pretty dining room would be a perfect place for breakfast, don't you think? Featured in Classic Entertaining that I mentioned on Wednesday, this room features a rare lilac covered cheese dish-I assume it's Wedgewood Jasperware. Isn't it so beautiful? Love those amaryllis too!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

To everyone celebrating Christmas today, I hope you all have a day full of joy and hope!
This is my tree a few years ago in a larger apartment.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas eve meal

I've been reading the book Classic Entertaining by Henrietta Spencer-Churchill and came across this beautiful dining room set for dinner in an Oxfordshire country house. Perfect for a Christmas eve meal, don't you think? Love these flowers, don't you?
And for dessert, how about these beautiful plates set alongside a bronze equestrian statue? I love how they are arranged to display how each plate is different -so organized too to prepare for dessert!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Carriage House, revisited

In the December 2008 issue of 'This Old House' magazine is one of the most elegant conversions I've ever seen! A former 1916 Carriage House (garage and servants quarters) from a grand estate in Bernardsville, New Jersey, was bought and converted into a weekend getaway for a couple by Hiland Hall Turner Architects. Measuring in at 3,500 sf, the garage didn't even need an addition. As 1/2 of the home was already living space, that left the garage to be converted into a serious living room! The floorplans have a beautifully modern layout. I'm green with envy! That main living space is spectacular; measuring 25' by 45' with an 11' tall ceiling! The 4 original car doors were swapped out for large french doors with transoms above. As you can see in the top photo, you can't even tell this ever was a garage!
This is the main open living room above - the fireplace was added, but can you tell this was an unfinished space ever? They built in the walls with insulation and paneling. So beautiful!!
The library at the front of the house was originally the chauffeur's office. The bookcases are original (fancy office for a chauffeur, huh?). They now hold the board games and books of the owners.
The kitchen also contains some original items, such as the island which was originally the mechanics work table! The owners had the beautiful herringbone floors put down over the original concrete. You can see the original glazed-brick walls which were left exposed on the one interior wall. My old high school had these in the gym but they're really a unique feature pointing to the original use of the home.
You can see both the brick and the original island better here. The glazed brick acts as a perfect backsplash. I love that hood! Stainless steel is OVER in my opinion. The tall cabinets flanking the stove were originally lockers for the mechanics.
Here is a better view of the open living space created from the garage. Notice the thick walls and the row of transomed french doors with sidelights.
The paneling in the formal dining room is original as well, this was the workshop. The archway to the foyer and staircase is new, however.
In the master bedroom, the architects exposed the beautiful rafters creating a cathedral ceiling which soars up to 15'. The fireplace is new but fits in perfectly with the architecture I think. You would think it was original! Aren't you dying with envy??This project reminded me of the plans that Borries and Shearron have on their newly updated website for a French 'lanterne' house seen above and below. The long open living space with an enfilade of rooms is truly my favorite type of house. A country house with true outdoor connections :-) Be sure to check out the other 4 projects they have listed -you won't be disappointed!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I hope you all enjoy your snowy weekend!! It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas :-)
Image of Carnegie Mellon University campus

Friday, December 19, 2008


I'm longing to get away; Are you too? The holidays, the election, the start of winter, it's all exhausting!! Tell me, where would you go? While a trip to Italy or Spain is out of the cards for me this year due to finances, I am going to Houston next month! Anyone ever been? Recommendations?
Photo of the Breakers, in Newport, RI.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Petit Trianon

The most popular blog post I ever wrote were my 2 postings on the Petit Trianon (see them here and here). While famous, very little information is out there about this little neoclassical gem which was the last haven of Marie Antoinette (a new photography book called Marie Antointte and the last garden of Versailles by Duvernois and Halard is out but I haven't seen it yet). I must get at least an email or two per week asking for scans of the floor plans and elevations from my rare book from 1913 which includes all the drawings imaginable and I am happy to share!
However, rarely do I hear back from these recipients. Last week I heard from Maria Vassiliou, Dan Smith, Isabelle Meadows and Gina Bayliss from Nottingham Trent University, UK who had constructed a fast model of the exterior of the Petit Trianon.
I was so happy to see the final product! They created a pretty detailed model of the small chateau out of Chipboard (oh the days of architecture school models...I remember them well!). One of the reasons I started blogging were these connections with other design-minded inviduals. I hope you all enjoy seeing their product as much as I do!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bette Davis STAMPS!

Guess what I got at the post office today?? Bette Davis STAMPS!! What a great way to glamourize your mail! I believe this photograph they used is from 'All about Eve' -one of my favorite movies! Run out and buy yours today!