Friday, January 7, 2011


I'm piggybacking on a post by the lovely mom of the Duncan Boys, who recently blogged about what she doesn't usually photograph when taking pictures of her home. I noted in the comments section of her post that I'd planned to blog about this photograph:

This is Gwyneth Paltrow, photographed by Vogue, in a picture I found on Hooked On Houses. This photo struck me, because how often do you see a photo of a celebrity mother that shows evidence that she is, actually, a mother?

I'm not talking about the photographs of the perfectly designed high end children's bedroom (which I have nothing against - would that a designer be interested in installing a high end children's bedroom - which one of my kid's bedrooms may I empty for you??). I'm not a person who wants to thumb through a shelter magazine and look at someone else's mess and junk. I have my own, thankyouverymuch. While I hear a lot of complaints about design photographs that don't show people's "stuff", I'm generally not one to join the braying. A design photograph should show me the design - I can then install it and bring my own messy living to the furnishings quite nicely. Nevertheless, there is something about Gwyneth's photo that called to me.

The photograph doesn't even seem messy to me - it's just realistic. This is what a home that houses children looks like in the hours between waking and bedtime. Imperfect, yet vibrant. I like that Vogue and Ms. Paltrow decided it was okay to show the toys and boots and gave us, the readers, credit: we can still see the beauty of the home, we can still lust over that spectacular range hood, we can still note the brilliance of the white palette. A beautiful mess.

Like life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A Spot of Tea

(Yes, I know this blog has been dormant for a while. There are reasons. Meanwhile....)

I love tea, as in the activity. The drink is nice, too. A few months ago I finally got around to hosting a semi-formal tea (semi because I served tea buffet style). I spent a few months before that collecting a variety of teacups and saucers so that I could create an interesting display of china, invited my friends over, and ate my weight in confection dusted carbohydrates. Yum, tea.
Missing from my efforts was the perfect teapot. What I'd like is a silver teapot, that I know for sure. What I'm unsure about is whether or not I'd like a silver sugar bowl and creamer to go with, or if I want to stick to my normal, white ceramic serving pieces for these. And I don't know if I want my silver teapot to be traditional, transitional, modern, eclectic... currently there are about five hundred teapots I'd like to have, so you can see how this might become an issue.

I love the concept of this teapot... set it on the stove to boil, wait for the design to appear (indicating boiling water), and then use it to serve:

ONE Kettle
But it's not silver, and I know eventually I'd resume the want for a shining vessel. Pottery Barn offers this gorgeous mirror polished plated teapot:

The elegance of a silver teapot is hard to top, although I need to do some research to figure out if there is anything to worry about as the teapot ages. The inside of an aged silverplated pot can look scary, and although the interior is generally not silver, I don't know what it is or if I should be drinking bits of it.

Properly serving would mean a silver tea service, on an elegant silver tray:

I love the ornate details of that set, but I have to admit even though I lean traditional, I might tire of the busyness of those pieces. Plus, I sense they'd be a nightmare to polish (especially since I get around to polishing the silver pieces I already own - a punchbowl, some candlesticks, coasters, jewelry) about once a year. Therefore, flat surfaces are a lot easier to bring to a shine).

As much as I love tea, I was well into my thirties before I had it in a high tea setting for the first time, when my husband and I visited his grandmother in London. I said then and I repeat today that I could easily adapt to a country where it's perfectly acceptable to stop what you're doing in favor of scones at 3pm.

Wilmot Orchards

Back in the States, my family tends to eat a big pancake breakfast on Sunday mornings that does not leave much room or desire for lunch. We graze in late afternoon with a sort of tea, nothing formal and certainly with no silver teapot (having not yet purchased one!), followed by a late, light dinner. My hope is that we get a little more formal about Sunday tea as I think it would be a nice tradition to pass down to my half-English children.

But first... I must find and commit to a teapot.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Plug In Pendant Lights

Why do manufacturers think we want these? Do we?

I think a hard wired pendant lamp is best, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something.

Short post. Just wondering.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Well Placed Accessory

While poking around on Facebook, I noticed the The Ritz-Carlton in the right hand navigation list, asking me to like its residences in downtown Baltimore at the Inner Harbor.

I don't like pages on FB easily, but I will take a peek. I have no idea who the photography credits belong to or who is responsible for the design of each of the rooms below, but I hope I find out. Yummy yumminess - why am I living in the suburbs again? Oh - because I love my house, too, and will even more once it's finished. And kept sparkling. Note to self.

But I digress. The Ritz-Carlton Residences at the Inner Harbor Baltimore:

 That wallpaper in the kitchen. Swoon.

You can see floor plans and get other details here.

One thing that always strikes me in model home rooms is the sense of restraint (well, usually). The well placed accessory carries so much more punch than a bunch of clutter strewn about. This is not a skill I've mastered. I really need a ten thousand square foot house to accommodate my need to shop and bring home decorative accessories. Seriously - I just bought an oil painting today. It's ridiculous.

If I ever hire a designer, I will really only need them to edit and place my accessories. If I ever become a designer (shh! latent dream!) this will be my number one challenge - the biggest thing I need to master.

The second biggest thing will be to squelch my desire to do something myself when I know good and well I need to hire a professional, but I am quite certain that's another post.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm Still Here

Work has consumed a lot of time lately, so my projects are suffering, but I'm still here. Hope to get a few pics of a few things up and running on a few posts soon.

Meanwhile, isn't this pretty?

From Decor Pad
Eye candy gets me through the busy times.

Have a great day.

Friday, August 6, 2010

At This Very Moment....

My husband is installing new cabinet pulls in the kitchen. I cannot tell you what a difference this small fix makes. Will have to post about it.

Yes, this is our Friday night. We are rockin' and rollin' people.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

You Learn Something New....

I have already run into four thousand problems with my doorknob idea.

They are not the problems I assumed I would have.

I assumed that, because I was buying vintage doorknobs, I might have a problem fitting them onto my modern doors, which already have holes and whatnot cut out to support the existing doorknobs. So I measured once, then measured again, then chuckled to myself because I figured I was beating some system and as long as the math added up, I'd be fine.

Welp - totally forgot about the different doorknob types.

There are passage/dummy doorknobs, which exist only to pull or push open a door, and have no locking mechanism. There are privacy doorknobs, which do have a locking mechanism. There are more types, but these two are sufficient detail for the problem I've encountered with my beautiful vintage doorknob set. It arrived today.

'It's beautiful. It's vintage. It fits over the existing hole.

It does not have a locking mechanism, and I only have exactly what you see above. You see, that vintage doorknob is designed to be used with an actual key. See the keyhole? It's not decorative. It once worked.

Therefore, the interior fittings do not have the locking thingie that goes in the doorjamb. I have no single doors that are passage only and don't require a lock. Not a single one. I have two sets of french doors, one of which has passage doorknobs, but...the set above is not just passage. The knobs have that... stick thing... that needs to go into a hole in the door. And I'm not sure I'm up to the task of carving out a doorknob hole, plus it would leave raw metal sticking out one side if I tried to divide the set to use on both doors.

If this is not making any sense, it's because I need to go to bed. Bah, humbug.