Saturday, March 28, 2009

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend planned! These pictures were taken yesterday by a friend at work and I just loved how they turned out. We had lots of fog yesterday morning which is always thicker near the river and canal here in Georgetown. I love how you can see the fog lift in these photos when the sun comes out, all taken within a minute. So dramatic!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thank you Apartment Therapy!

I want to thank Leah Moss, an editor at Apartment Therapy, for the EXTREMELY flattering write up she did for my house tour!Leah came over last weekend to check out my place and chat for awhile. She's a great photographer and really captured my apartment well, no easy feat in such a small space! We had so much fun talking it hardly felt like an interview at all!
We talked a lot about small spaces and how to live in them, which is what 'Apartment Therapy' is all about. The challenges all are worth it though when you end up with your cozy cocoon.
If you are interested, check out the post! She's completely over flattering to me, I have to thank her for that. I know there are a lot of photos for my small space, but it's so fun for me to see it through someone else's eyes; a different perspective.
The post is online HERE

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dumbarton Oaks Orangery

The Orangery at Dumbarton Oaks is attached to the main house via the breezeway I pictured on Monday. However, it dates back to the mid 19th century when it was a freestanding structure and was later connected to the house in the 1923 remodel.The architect matched the federal style applied to the structure with this beautiful detailed brickwork. Like elsewhere on the estate, the lanterns are intricate ironwork with delicate leaves and swirls. The french doors must be 8 1/2' tall; Love the transoms too! Here is a detail of the cornice and one of the transom windows.
The interior has a 150 yr old fig tree (vine?) that encompasses the entire room, covering everything. You can see it here above the entrance to the space from the breezeway and how it wraps the entire space below.So lush and green, the same hexagonal clay tiles are on the floor. The lanterns are almost hidden behind all the plants. The way an orangery should be!
Two very proper french terra cotta sphinx's flank the front door. All of the plants live in large terra cotta pots. Each wall between french doors & transoms has a beautiful medallion or plaque. I love the way the fig tree has grown around them.
If you're ever free and find yourself in Georgetown, stop in to see the gardens at Dumbarton Oaks!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

decorative plate

I realized it's been too long since my last china of the week post; Count this one as china of the month!
I recently rediscovered this unusual piece of Minton which I had forgotten about in the recesses of my cupboards. It now sits on my coffee table on a stack of current magazines (my favorite is on top here, 'the world of interiors')Facedown you get a better look at the odd petal shape of the plate. It's so useful having it here on the coffee table as another place to set a drink or snack without having to worry about staining a magazine or making a mess. Why didn't I think of this earlier?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dumbarton Oaks

This past weekend I visited Dumbarton Oaks, a house museum and gardens in Georgetown. While we were too late for the tour of the house (seriously, once a week a tour of only 15 people?? come on!) we were able to take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and explore the extensive gardens. Surrounded by beautiful bricks walls, the estate currently houses 10 acres (a huge piece of property for right in the city!).The house was built in 1800 and was later remodeled in the Federal style seen today in 1923 by the last owners of the house, Robert and Mildred Bliss. They donated it to Harvard University who runs it as a museum, library and famous gardens. Seen above is the main entrance to the museum, which is connected to the house and contains Byzantine and pre-columbian artifacts as well as an extensive research library.Here you can see the breezeway between the Orangery (which I will blog about later this week, a magnificent room!!) and the house.This is the interior of the breezeway, a charming space with stucco (concrete?) walls, clay floors and amazing ironwork (like all over the estate). Everything seems to be original to the 1923 remodel which is fantastic: all the hardware, light fixtures, ironwork, etc. Just wait till you see the Orangery!The rear of the house is probably my favorite view. It faces lawns which step down to Rock Creek Park. Since the gardens are so important, one feature I loved was that each doorway had a bootscrape. What a great detail!The stonework around the estate is cohesive overall, but each portion still has its own character. It begins as very formal nearest the house, seen above, and becomes more natural the further from the house you walk.You can see that spring has sprung -the trees are in bloom!Even the cherry blooms! A whole section of the garden is devoted to them.To the other side of the house on a lower terrace is a swimming pool with this loggia off it. See the same materials, hexagonal clay tile floors, stucco walls and groin vaults.This loggia is reached by this unusual staircase which surrounds a fountain. Rather than pour, the water drips naturally - a very peaceful spot! This fountain (and after the stairs) make it a perfect spot to rest which is why the bench above is located at the base.The estate is formed of numerous gardens or outdoor 'rooms' which are reached by stairs from one another all terracing down to a stream.One of the common motif's throughout the garden is the sheath of wheat which is a symbol in the coat of arms of the Bliss family.
The gardens were designed over many years by Beatrix Farrand, a great friend of Mildred Bliss, between 1922 and 1947.This unusual tree is in the center of another room. Notice the mangled limbs and visible roots! Creepy!!
One of the many garden structures had these cute squirrel statues crowning it!
One of the more formal 'rooms' contained this beautiful fountain, surrounded by a ring of trees 16' in diameter which are trimmed to be 16' high! Talk about attention to detail!
There were 3 of these garden structures above with unusual clay tile roofs built of rough stone walls in an ashlar pattern. These are the furthest structures from the house and you can see how both the stonework and the architecture itself becomes less formal.I loved these little statues: the fruits are metal as are the turtles holding up the stone boat.
These were near the pool terraces walls and probably contain pool machinery. I'd like to think gnomes live in them though! so cute!
This beautiful stairway was in the newest section of the museum and wrapped around an antique terra cotta urn.
The home is very important in other regards: the estate hosted the Dumbarton Oaks Conference in summer, 1943 which led to the creation of the United Nations. Also -Igor Stravinsky was commissioned to write his "concerto in E flat" or the "Dumbarton Oaks Concerto" by Mr. Bliss in 1938 to commemorate their 30th wedding anniversary. I've included a video of the 1st & 2nd movements below.

Look for my post on the Orangery later this week: I hope you enjoyed the highlights of the garden from my perspective!