October 12, 2015

Save the Date!

Once again this year, Bunny Williams Home, Vaughan, Holland & Sherry and Chelsea Editions are having their warehouse clearance sale!image


I heard that this an amazing sale last year, and I am sure it will be every bit as great this year!

For more information, please click here.

October 7, 2015

Pillow Talk

A few years ago, I had the distinct privilege of meeting a fun gal from Louisiana, Rebecca Vizard. One of the things I liked about her was that she loved textiles even more than I do, and her collection was also much better! She had a booth at High Point and it was such fun looking through the amazing pillows she had created, and listening to her tell stories about the fabrics.image

Now you can hear those stories, too! Rebecca has just written a book, Once Upon a Pillow which is scheduled for publication on October 15th. imageRebecca uses rare textiles from Europe, India and Asia to create her one-of-a-kind pillows and the fabrics come from sources as diverse as convents and country fairs. image

She creates these exquisite pillows with fabrics ranging from old church vestments to suzanis to Fortuny’s best offerings. Being a thrifty gal, Rebecca uses the scraps of the fabrics in a line of chic dog collars, modeled here by the late, great Connor!image

Knowing Rebecca as I do, I know that this is going to be an amazing book, and it will have a place of honour on my shelves, right next to the other books friends have written. To pre-order the book, click here.

And my heartiest congratulations to Mz. BViz for this massive accomplishment! Go girl!

October 1, 2015


October is architecture month.

Will you do me a favour? Take a look around you… are you sitting in a building? Do you ever think about the building? About why it looks the way that it does? In all likelihood, an architect had something to do with the building.

The architect placed the windows in a spot that would be pleasing from both the inside and out. IMG_4696The architect figured out how many stairs went from floor to floor, and where the optimal spot would be for the front and back doors. IMG_4660The architect thought about the decorative aspects of the space, what type of moldings on the ceilings and what kind of ornamentation would look best on the fa├žade. IMG_4765

The built environment, both in Baltimore and around the world, owes so much to the architecture of the place. Each has its own look, its own feel. We all know that there’s good architecture and bad architecture, but from there on, it’s subjective.IMG_4820 In Baltimore, we are so lucky to have a wide range of architectural styles, starting with the classical buildings surrounding Mount Vernon Place to the shining new glass structures in Harbor East. We have rows and rows of rowhouses IMG_4706and a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house. We have small Cape Cod style homes, and grand elegant mansions.IMG_4768

All of these have one thing in common – they came from the mind of an architect, a designer, a builder, a creator. They came from the mind of a person who thought through the process of putting a building and all of its elements together to make a unified whole. IMG_4692Most of these architects were anonymous, working in a small office, drafting the lines and angles by hand, never to be known by the generations who saw their work.IMG_4700

So, during the month of October, do me a favour and look around, think of the people who designed the buildings around you, and if you know one, thank an architect.

This is excerpted from an essay I wrote for the Baltimore Architecture Foundation in 2011 and illustrated with images I am using on my walk-and-talk tour of 200 Years of Charles Street later this month. All were taken in a two block stretch of Charles Street, Baltimore’s Main Street.

September 28, 2015

A Little Historic House Tour

I am getting ready to join the board of an early 19th century house, the Carroll Mansion, here in Baltimore and after an absence of many years, I had a chance to do a brief tour of it last week. image

It was built by Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, for his daughter, although he spent the last 12 winters of his life there. It looks like this now. image

It’s not too different… on the left window, you can see the shadow of the original doors, and I can tell you from experience that the shutters open, and there are lovely six-over-six windows, with their original interior shutters.

The house is empty now, having lost a lot of its original furnishings when the consortium of museums it was part of went bankrupt about 20 years ago. It’s now reviving itself as an arts and community center. It’s still part of the complex, and has its own private gardens, complete with lush, end-of-the-season flower beds. image

I had to gasp when I climbed to the second floor and saw the three main rooms, complete with their 12+ foot ceilings and amazing wallpapers and chandeliers. image

The gilded bits of this chandelier are wood, and it dates back to just after the house was built in 1811. I loved the effect of its shadow on the wall. image

Another chandelier kept sending the funniest reflections into my camera, and those of the friends that I was with. No other picture did this. Maybe it was the ghosts…image

As I said, the wall papers were magnificent!image

And some of the early details remain. image

I will be in and out of this house working on a special project over the next eight months, so stay tuned for more great historic house images!

September 23, 2015

Eddie Ross’s Modern Mix

It was almost exactly six years ago that I drove down to Washington, DC to “spend the weekend” with the stylish and fun Eddie Ross and Jaithan Kocher. They were in DC to do a flea market tour, and fellow blogger, Michele at My Notting Hill, had a small cocktail party for them so they could meet some of the area bloggers. It was such fun to finally put names and faces together and many of us have remained friends.

Fast forward to the news that Eddie is sharing all of the knowledge that we saw first-hand that weekend with everyone in his new book,Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds!IMG_4379

As soon as I got this book, I literally sat down and started reading it page by page, devouring the photographs, the great information and the excellent tips that Eddie and Jaithan wrote. And then the next evening, I did it over again to see what I had missed. This book is jam-packed with fabulous information on a wide range of topics. IMG_4395

The introduction to each chapter is very creatively done, with a half page to announce the chapter, and then a summary of its contents. Very clever!IMG_4381IMG_4383

Eddie and I share a deep love of several things, including unusual silverware, china of all sorts, and lovely linens, all of which are covered in depth in this book. This image is a perfect example of our shared love – I have the same china, and the ivory-handled knife is similar to the type that I collect. IMG_4403And in this image, you can see that his collection of mother-of-pearl handles silverware is very similar to mine!IMG_4386

He discusses not only the collecting of these items, but the care and upkeep of them, too! Eddie shows myriad examples of each item he discussing and tells you what’s good about each, and what to look for when you’re collecting something. IMG_4397IMG_4393Throughout the book, there are fun images from Eddie’s Instagram account, IMG_4385

and tips and hints highlighted by Eddie’s signature tortoise-shell specs. IMG_4391

Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this book. It’s going to be one of those books that I keep on my shelves and refer back to time and time again. It’s not trendy or flashy, just great information presented beautifully and easily. I know that each time I read through it, I will find new information that’s relevant to me just when I need it. IMG_4401

Congratulations to Eddie and Jaithan on the publication of Modern Mix: Curating Personal Style with Chic & Accessible Finds and for a job well done! I am looking forward to seeing you at the book event in Washington with the old gang from six years ago!

September 20, 2015

Chartreuse & Co.

About an hour west of Baltimore, in the small town of Buckeystown, there is an occasional event I finally got around to attending! It’s the bi-monthly (or so) barn sale at Chartreuse & Co. As you wind down some country roads, in a county that is rapidly becoming more suburban than rural, you see an historic brick house and a collection of barns. IMG_4260

Each of the barns is filled with loads of goodies, some in small shops that various owners have set up and others filled with furniture or architectural artifacts. IMG_4261

A lot of the shops veered a bit too far towards the faux shabby “chic” side for me, and if I saw one more 20-something clutching a Ball or Mason jar like she’d just won an Emmy, I was going to slap someone.

But there was enough to make me happy including two of my passions: old silverplate pieces, IMG_4267IMG_4273IMG_4311IMG_4318and some good collections of ironstone.IMG_4310IMG_4316IMG_4317

It’s just beginning to feel like autumn here and it was fun to see the wide varieties of pumpkins used for decoration. IMG_4283IMG_4308IMG_4309IMG_4315

It was fun seeing how people had styled their shops. IMG_4340IMG_4302IMG_4290IMG_4303The barns are styled using some of the inventory, like this one paneled in old shutters. IMG_4312

On the way home we popped into Frederick for little while, and soon realized that it was best left for an all day trip up to visit all of the great antique shops and restaurants, including Brian Voltaggio’s Volt Restaurant. We stopped into one shop that both Andrea and I thought was just beautifully decorated. IMG_4328IMG_4329IMG_4330IMG_4333IMG_4335

It was a beautiful day for a drive to Frederick, IMG_4326IMG_4338IMG_4339

and we’re both looking forward to visiting again.