Thursday, October 2, 2014

Our Shop in October

Hello there ~

Happy October! After enjoying a bit of an Indian summer, it's now looking and feeling more like fall in DC. 

Have you added any seasonal touches to your home? I just brought in a few white pumpkins.Ten years ago, when I wanted these ghostly beauties I had to trek north to my favorite farmsteads in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Now, they and many other specialty pumpkins and gourds can be sourced locally at grocery stores and nurseries. I even have a friend who grew his own white pumpkins from seed. It's fun to see how popular they have become.

Enjoy this tour of the shop as well as a few new arrivals! If you have questions about any of the following pieces, please email me at

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I went to the market with my garden trug and . . . 
. . . came back with just a few white pumpkins :)
Here is a trio on an antique English Wedgwood creamware platter.

The Belgian oak table has a bleached top over turned legs painted gray. The French armchair / fauteuil has been reupholstered in a quilted fabric from Nancy Corzine. Both pieces date from 1870-1900.
Traces of old paint and elegant carvings add texture to the simple frame. I can see this chair accenting a bedroom, library, living room, etc.
ABOVE: A sculptural Thonet bentwood table that would be charming as a small center table.
BELOW: A French cast iron urn as a catch-all for garden accoutrements. Mini white pumpkins would be cute in the urn as well.
This is a striking French round table with zinc base and marble top. The fretwork apron and scrolls on this sturdy table have such movement. Originally, there were castors so I wonder if this was a pastry or even a conservatory worktable?
This French or Swedish painted sofa recently came back from my upholsterer. I had it updated and simplified with a neutral linen fabric, flat tape trim, and single loose seat cushion filled with down and feathers. Note its channeled frame with beading and finials terminating in scrolls. The color is more of a French gray than Gustavian.

The pillow fabric is from Lisa Fine.
Here is a substantial steel and brass 43" square coffee table with an inset glass top. The grid design resembles a basketweave pattern. It's a piece that bridges classical and modern designs - even a bit industrial in spirit.
An English white-washed whatnot / etagere of useful size, this piece can hold books, china and even towels for a bathroom. I love the undulating lines!
On this 1900s kidney-shaped freestanding chest by the Danish firm of Lysberg & Hansen, from Copenhagen, is a pale Lumina pumpkin served on a French creamware platter.

The giltwood mirror with mercury glass and plaster decorations is French.
A diminutive Swedish Gustavian painted demi-lune table from the 19th century.
This Gustavian period window seat has been hand scraped to its early painted surface. During the process, iron reinforcements / braces were discovered - I love finding these tidbits which are a part of the piece's history and character. The stool is newly upholstered in a silk damask by Claremont. Cording is by Samuel & Sons, and gimp trim is by Scalamandre.
Antique French creamware fruit compotes filled with Baby Boo pumpkins. The antique creamware covered soup tureen is also French.

The Swedish Baroque cabinet is an early piece from the 1740-60s. It would be great under a TV or as a server.
So I guess the theme this year at Tone on Tone is pumpkins and creamware :)

To see how I decorated in previous fall seasons, click on "autumn" on my sidebar under BLOG TOPICS.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Halcyon Moments in the Garden

Please let it stop raining! Please let it stop raining! Why was I fretting about the weather on a recent Saturday? Well, allow me to explain.

Tom and I had been invited to a garden party at the home of Stiles Colwill and Jonathan Gargiulo, renowned designers, shop owners, and fabulous tastemakers. The party was to fete Meg Fairfax Fielding, our mutual friend and noted blog author of Pigtown Design. In case you are new to the blog world, Meg is a pioneer. Since 2007, she has been writing about architecture, culture, design and popular events in Baltimore and elsewhere. Pigtown Design was one of the very first blogs on the scene. Meg's point of view is highly respected. You might recognize her as a regular at Highpoint and / or as a guest on The Nate Berkus Show.
 ABOVE: Meg Fairfax Fielding
BELOW: Stiles Colwill and Jonathan Gargiulo
Meg had told me all about Jonathan and Stiles' magnificent gardens as well as their shop, Halcyon House Antiques, located just outside of Baltimore. (I am planning a shopping trip there so stay tuned for a future post.) I was so eager to see their gardens that I begged Mother Nature for a bit of sunshine. Though sunshine never came, the rain did stop. And, you know what? That evening was enchanting as the entire property was cloaked in a misty fog - very romantic and dewy.
As the light was fading, there was just enough time for a quick tour and, thankfully, a few photos. To see more, visit Meg's posts here and here. Remember to click on the photos to enlarge. Enjoy~    
Meg and Tom catching up. Put that umbrella away, girl! (Do I spy a Scalamandre umbrella?)
Welcome to Jonathan and Stiles' gorgeous gardens! The gardens are divided into gracious "outdoor rooms," and thoughtfully appointed with urns, ornaments and furnishings. There is a sense of intimacy within the walls of tall hedges, as well as grand scale with the dramatic plantings and vast open fields beyond.
All the garden rooms are organized along strong axes. I love how the framed vistas - achieved via hedge openings and arbors - lead the viewer's eye from room to room.
Stepping down to the potager and cutting garden, where vegetables are grown alongside flowers for arrangements throughout the house.
Ornamental kale, verbenas, zinnias and dahlias create a lush, layered look full of contrast, color and texture. 
Seating is strategically placed to allow one to rest and admire the surrounding beauty.
Both the armillary sphere and stone finial create focal points.
Spectacular dahlias from the cutting garden graced every room. Notice the antique vessels chosen for the arrangements.
Well, hello there ;-) Yes, I'm a lucky doggie...and a cutie!

A very special thanks to Jonathan and Stiles for a most wonderful evening!

~ H A P P A U T U M N ~


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Living Room Project

I'm delighted to share my client's living room in a historic 1918 cottage. Like all projects, this one is unique. I think this room turned out beautifully, and it shows that antiques can be relevant, young and versatile.

Earlier this year, Jen and Chris purchased a couple items from my shop. Then one thing led to another, and I started helping them with decorating. Sweet, right? First of all, they've been terrific - very patient plus open minded. Jen and Chris were ready to finish the living room fast, but it was important for me to understand how they live - for ex: formal entertaining vs chilling out, etc. Together we slowly worked on discovering their style, which is traditional to transitional. I wanted them to have a living room in which they felt comfortable entertaining their parents as well as friends their age.

Because this is an older cottage, the room is not expansive. Also, it doesn't get a lot of natural light. But, it does have a high ceiling, handsome staircase tucked to the side, charming millwork, and a casual vibe. Everything had already been painted, and they owned a pair of vintage camel-back sofas. I continued the neutral palette so the room could breathe. Tailored pieces were chosen for sophistication and timelessness. Antiques brought in character while accessories from West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, and Room & Board added that "current" look.

Let's check it out:
One of the first pieces I placed was this 1800s Swedish Gustavian chest from Tone on Tone. It provides needed storage and, being compact, doesn't get in the way. 
It's important to mix textures and finishes. I found this mid-century style lamp from Crate and Barrel and hoped Jen would approve. Not at first, but now she loves it :) Afterwards, I restyled the vignette using what she already owned: a print with vintage frame and marble bowl (handy for keys, etc).
Here is an overview of the living room. The room needed light so I selected the Reed pendant fixture from Circa - notice the clean, tailored lines. The metal coffee table is from Room & Board. It is narrow, and has a useful lower shelf. Plus it is reasonably priced.
The antique paintings and vintage sunburst mirror are from my shop.
Walls are painted in Benjamin Moore Hush - AF 95.
I chose a wool sisal style staircase runner with very narrow binding. It's installed about 3 inches from the sides (and cut out around the newel post) in the Hollywood style, which is tailored and bespoke. The big area rug is the same, but with a different binding. Larger area rugs do wonders for small spaces!
BELOW: Cool agate coasters from West Elm.
Anchoring the other side of the living room is a brick fireplace with an arched opening - very cottagey! The little drinks tables are from Pottery Barn. The antique giltwood mirror with heavily foxed mercury glass I found in France. 

The previous homeowner had the built-in cabinets installed. Over them is a pair of early 1800s carved wooden finials I brought back from Maine. The finials, with their crusty patina, make the cabinets look less new. Also, the cabinets now are more like pedestals.   
Old and new: Iron candelabra from Pottery Barn and 19th century painting from the Barbizon school, France. The scene in the painting reminds Jen and Chris of Upstate New York, where they vacation with family.
Botanical prints from Hugo Guinness - I selected frames resembling driftwood for an organic look.
Hope you have enjoyed seeing this project. 
Huge thanks to my awesome clients, Jen and Chris!!!

And for comparison, below is the room before. Excuse the mess... We were working :)