Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sarah Brightman Fug.

Yes, I was at her concert Wednesday. Yes, she REALLY wore that....and it was awesome.
Whats not to love about a red satin bustle / corset with 20' long shimmery train with tiara and red high heeled gogo boots and laced-up leggings? Read the HILARIOUS commentary at one of my favorite websites Go Fug Yourself.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rainbows in DC

Last weekend's weather brought us a beautiful rainbow! I snapped this while crossing the bridge from Woodley Park into Kalorama. I hope it brings a smile to your face! It was actually a double rainbow, you can almost see the 2nd one disappearing in this photo to the right over Kalorama.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thank you, Washington Post!

I received a shout out today on the Washington Post Blog Watch. I'm honored and the other 2 blogs are so wonderful I hardly feel worthy! Thank you for all the congratulatory emails, everyone - this has made my day!
Check out the other 2 blogs, I think you will love them! Shelter and Velvet & linen
Image of my style icon, Fred Astaire, taken by Martin Munkacsi via Paul Pincus.

The Federal Triangle

Atop the Federal Triangle metro stop is...believe it or not - the Federal Triangle! This important group of federal offices is along the national mall and occupies 70 acres between the Capitol building and the white house. After the 1926 public building's act, the government was permitted to hire private architectcs to design federal buildings. U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon (sound familiar? He is responsible for a lot of prominent buildings here in DC among other cities) and a board of architectural consultants headed by Edward H. Bennett (of the Chicago architectural firm of Bennett, Parsons, and Frost) developed design guidelines for the site. Each member of the board designed one building. The guidelines were meant to incoprorate all the seperate buildings into a dignified monumental whole. Limestone facades, red-tile hipped roofs and classically inspired colannades were just some of the features that linked all the buildings together.
My favorite is the one right on top of the metro seen in these pictures, the New Post Office (now the old post office!) also known as the Ariel Rios Federal Building. This was designed by one of my favorite firms, not surprisingly at all, Delano & Aldrich and was finished in 1935. This was built as the core feature of all the buildings and was modeled on the Place Vendome in Paris.
According to this informative website HERE, the central section of the building is comprised of two huge back to back, semi-circular units with side wings. The 1/2 circle formed by the building's curve was to be mirrored by a similarly curved façade built across the Street on the site of the Old Post Office Building, seen below.

The Old Post Office, which has magnificent views of the city from the tower and is always full of tourists, was fortunately saved from the wrecking ball in 1970 and is now private offices. However, the rest of Delano and Aldrich's plan for a main circular court in the federal triangle was never completed because of this. Half of the court exists anyway for us to enjoy! I hope you enjoyed this tour and my photos!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Have you seen this link to the color graduation chart on Mrs. Blandings? It's fantastic, I got a 7 - take THIS test and let me know how you did in the comments section! Thanks for letting us know about this, Mrs. Blandings and for the image!

Hillwood greenhouse

Tired of Hillwood yet? I promise this is the last post! The big draw at Hillwood are the gardens as I mentioned yesterday, but both outside AND indoors. I featured the Japanese garden yesterday, but the entire house is full of fresh flowers year round thanks to their very own greenhouse seen above! There are people preparing fresh arrangements everyday for each room of the house the same as when Marjorie was in residence. What a fun job!
While only the front portion of the greenhouse is open to the public, the rest of the greenhouse features 100s of varieties of flowers for cutting and placing in elaborate arrangements. The front of the greenhouse which I have pictured here had orchids of every shape, size and color. It features 3 large seperate rooms with many more closed to the public.
One way to fit in even more plants - hang them from the ceiling!
So many pretty colors!

They were categorized by type - I can appreciate the organization!
Those yellow frilly ones really remind me of an Easter bonnet!

Ok I promise that is the end of my pictures of Hillwood! Back to our regularly scheduled postings tomorrow :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hillwood: Japanese Garden

The gardens are one of the real draws of the Hillwood estate. One of the most beautiful is the Japanese Garden. It lies just below the lawn on the back of the house. It basically is a large waterfall with pathways down the hillside into the lower garden. I think it looks best in the fall as seen here. The beautiful foliage was star!
This garden represents a hybrid of American and Japanese gardening traditions. Shogo Myaida was the landscape architect who combined native planting materials with authentic Japanese ones to achieve the desired affect. Mrs. Post was actively involved with Shogo in the 1950s and 60s in the design of this garden.

an interesting shot of the ground

From the garden you see up the hillside to the home

Join me tomorrow for a tour of the home's greenhouse!

All pictures are my own.

Monday, November 17, 2008


This weekend I had a friend in town and we went to visit the estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, Hillwood. If you aren't familiar with her, she was an heiress born in 1887 who at the young age of 27 inherited the Postum creal company which through her 2nd husband, E.F. Hutton she transformed into General Foods: So - big bucks. She had a fascinating life and became a hugely important collector of Russian, French and English decorative arts from the 17-19th centuries. sterling silver light fixtures at the entry
Marjorie started to seriously collect French decorative arts in 1919 for her New York apartment after her first divorce. Later, while living in Russia with her 3rd husband (1937-1939) she became interested in Russian decorative arts and amassed a huge collection of imperial and religious objects. Always obsessed with royalty, she collected faberge works of art and portraits of many people of Russian nobility. gilded fountain off the breakfast room
Also a major collector of porcelain, her different sets of china are displayed around her house in beautiful lit cabinets ( you know I love that! ). These sets mostly have historical significance though as well as being pretty.rear of the house
In 1955 Marjorie bought Hillwood (a 1920's 25 acre estate )here in Washington to showcase her collections with the intention of turning it into a museum. In 1973 upon her death, the estate opened up as a museum.rear of the house behind lit statueformal french garden alongside the living room
After buying the estate she hired the architect Alexander Mcilvaine (the name of my kindergarden teacher!) to remodel and expand the house and gardens and the famous interiors firms French & Co. and McMillen & Co to help revamp the interiors. For 2 years they worked tirelessly to transform the estate into a majestic setting for her royal collections. The exteriors are quiet but trust me the interiors are sumptuous (unfortunately photography was not allowed indoors but i've included interior photographs from the website at the bottom of this post). terrace fountain off the living roomcloseup of lanterncloseup of statuaryother end of the fountain in the formal french gardenthe rose gardenThe elegant foyer; the large portrait is of Catherine the great that she had gifted to a Belgian banker who lent money to Russia to fund a war.The library is directly off the foyer. The beautiful portrait to the right of the door is of Marjorie in 1934 .another view of the librarythe enormous dining room. The table was originally in her Florida home, Mar-a-Lago and extends to seat more than 30 people. The tabletop is a marble mosaic of intricate design featuring 11 different stones (luckily the lace tablecloth shown here wasn't on the table this weekend and I got to see the actual table).
the cozy breakfast room off the dining room. The room is modeled on her breakfast room in her 1920's nyc apartment: the bronze grillwork is actually from the apartment. The green glass and gilt bronze chandelier comes from one of Catherine the great's palaces - the Catherine Palace outside of St. Petersburg.The icon room located between the living room and library. The case in the center of the room is by Faberge and features different Faberge items including 2 royal easter eggs.
Join me tomorrow for a tour of the beautiful Japanese garden!

All photographs are my own except the interiors, to learn more about the estate visit their website HERE.