May 21, 2015

Scenes from New York

I took tons of pictures over the past few days in New York, including almost 100 at the Kips Bay Showhouse! But I need to sort and edit them, so I will do that over the long weekend. But I thought I’d share a few favourite, unedited images from my trip. Enjoy!

I am fascinated with the range of signs in each of the subway stations. IMG_1376NYC Wednesday (19)

The trains are pretty cool, too!NYC Wednesday (18)

And there’s nothing more interesting than the characters you see walking along the streets, like this gentleman.NYC Wednesday (2)

A love these curved windows.NYC Tuesday (5)

The New York State Supreme Court Building. The ornamentation on this building was terrific!NYC Wednesday (12)NYC Wednesday (6)NYC Wednesday (7)NYC Wednesday (8)

I love the juxtaposition of the old and new.NYC Thursday (1)

Love these cheery colours! The one on the left is very British.

NYC Thursday (2) NYC Thursday (3)

Can’t disagree with this!NYC Tuesday (7)

From the low-brow H&M NYC Wednesday (14)

to the high-brow John Rossellinyc rosselli (14)

with some detail…nyc rosselli (12)

Chinoiserie desk at Philip Colleck, Ltd.NYC Tuesday (11)

Staffordshire and Foo dogs (which the computer wants to correct as food dogs)NYC Tuesday (8)NYC Tuesday (14)

A little peek at my favourite space at Kips Bay.Kips Bay (19)

Stay tuned for a big post about the 2015 Kips Bay Showhouse!

May 17, 2015

A Little Bit of This, A Lot of That

I am headed up to NYC for a couple of days and have a packed schedule. The main event is to attend the book launch for Steven Stolman’s new, new book, 40 Years of Fabulous: Kips Bay Decorator Show House. imageThe party is being hosted by the fabulous Bunny Williams and John Rosselli at the even more fabulous John Rosselli Antiques. I can’t wait!

Naturally, I am also going to see the show house and I am even more excited about that. For some strange reason, I’ve never made it up for Kips Bay, and I’ve heard that the house is really amazing this year. imageThis year’s house is on the Upper East Side and features five floors of elegance, including a sweeping staircase. image

One of the rooms I am most anticipating is by Mark D. Sikes, a fellow blogger and a very talented decorator. image

Another highlight of the trip is a visit to my friends at Philip Colleck, Ltd. to see their Chinoiserie show. imageI love chairs, and if these two are any indication of the rest of the show, I am going to be madly in love!

One must-do on the list is a visit to old favourite, Pearl River Mart, which is scheduled to be closing later this year. I have been shopping at Pearl River for ages, since it was in the original 2nd and 3rd floor location above Canal Street. I was convinced that if you entered between the wrong two stalls, you’d disappear forever. imageFor years, Pearl River was the largest Chinese department store outside of China. You can buy almost anything there from fish sauce to 40-foot dragon kites. Shockingly, their current rent of $100k a month, is set to rise to five times that amount in 2016.

All of these plans are grand, but the real highlight of the trip and one that has me bouncing in my chair is dinner with former blogger extraordinaire, the incomparable Reggie Darling, who is missed by all! Joining us will be Boy Fenwick and our dinner partner-in-crime, Emily Evans Eerdmans! Along with my friend, Jonathan, this will be the reprise of a rollicking dinner two years ago, where we were having so much fun that I almost missed my train back to Baltimore!

Posting will be light this week, but there will be lots of goodies once I am back!

May 14, 2015

Landmark Turns 50!

One of my favourite UK charities is the Landmark Trust, an amazingly smart organization which restores old manors, churches and other buildings in the UK (and Italy and the US) and rents them out as holiday homes. My family stayed in two knitters’ cottages in the Cotswolds a number of years ago. This summer, Landmark turns 50 and they’re having all sorts of celebrations.

I thought I’d share some of their most interesting properties. Most of them are actually rather inexpensive if you have a group of people or a family, and you work out the comparable cost of booking a hotel.

Whiteford Temple, Callington, Cornwall. Sleeps twoimage

The Pineapple, Dumphries, Scotland. Sleeps fourimage

The Lengthsman’s Cottage, Warwickshire. Sleeps four.image

The Swarkstons Pavilion, Derbyshire. Sleeps two.image

The Pigsty, Robin Hood’s Bay, Yorkshire. Sleeps two.image

Bath Tower, Caernarfon, Wales. Sleeps five.image

Queen Anne’s Summerhouse, Sleeps two.


Ingestre Pavilion, Staffordshire. Sleeps six.image

Most of these properties are available beginning in 2016, and for four nights are the equivalent of $30-$90 per person, per night. They are all self-catering and are equipped with basic provisions. But part of the fun is being able to hang out, cook meals, play games and get to know the villages and towns where these properties are located.

As a memento of fifty years, Emma Bridgewater has designed a commemorative mug, featuring several of the Landmark Trust’s properties. image

For more information, check out the Landmark Trust’s website, here.

May 12, 2015

I’ll Take This: Stately House

It’s not that I don’t love my wee house, but it’s kind of quiet without Connor here. A month or so after my last dog died, I upped sticks and moved to England, but that’s not in the foreseeable future. But a girl can look, can’t she?image

It’s actually not the whole house, just a five-bedroom flat in one wing! Luckily, the house maintains some of its original features, including this gorgeous wood-paneled room. And check out the ceiling. It’s great to see a light fixture that’s appropriate to the space, isn’t it?image

Here’s another view, with a better look at the elevated sitting area. image

I love this sitting area, too… especially with the diamond-pane leaded glass. We had windows like this at the house where we grew up and I adored the look.image

Someone did a good job of incorporating a modern fitted kitchen into an old space. image

The art work’s a little scary and the sconce is a touch high, but I like the size of the room!image

Snug little guest room, or else the home for wayward chairs.image

WOW! I could just live in half of the gatehouse!image

Seriously, I’ve never seen a layout like this!image

Here’s some background on the house:

At the time of the dissolution of the monasteries John Pakington persuaded King Henry VIII to sell him the Westwood estate of the Benedictine nuns for £22. Nunnery Farm and Nunnery Wood with their excellent shooting are still adjacent. Westwood was until the restoration of the monarchy used as a banqueting house and hunting lodge. The house was extended in Elizabethan times by Lusty Pakington a great favourite of Elizabeth I and modernised later with the present magnificent plaster ceilings donated by Charles II. The Elizabethan Suite occupies what was once the Banqueting Suite on the ground floor of the property, lit by large bay windows, overlooking the grounds.image

The main entrance to the property leads you into the magnificent Great Hall which has a superb plaster work ceiling with all the original covings and wood panelling throughout. The large period open fireplace provides a vocal point to the room. The leaded windows with original stained glass bearing the family coat of arms from 1436 look out over the landscaped gardens, ancient parkland and a 50 acre lake.

For more information, click here.

May 11, 2015

The Most Beautiful House in Maryland

When I was younger, I sailed around the Annapolis area a lot. There was a house we’d sail by and I was always awestruck by its classic good looks and beautiful situation over-looking the Severn River. Constructed, beginning in the mid-1700’s for the last royal governor of Maryland, Horatio Sharpe, it is a true Georgian house in five parts. It was the first home in America built with a full temple portico.image It has been owned by the same family since the 1940’s and the owner spent years meticulously restoring this private home, which for years was used as the family’s summer home.  Funnily, one of the owner’s sons is the leading expert on jelly-fish stings, no doubt from decades of swimming in the river and Chesapeake Bay just off the banks of this estate. image

Word came earlier this week that Whitehall will be open to the public twice a month, beginning this summer, and I know I am going to be in line to see it, after hearing about it for ages!image

My friend Kit Pollard at the Baltimore Sun wrote a terrific article about the house, here and of course, I am madly jealous she got to see it. I thought I’d share some images with you to pique your interest.

Here’s the house in 1936, with a second-story, which was later removed for not being original to the house. image

Way before there were chromochronography, the owner picked back through the various coats of paint to find the original vivid colours, including this scarlet, which is similar to the family’s surname, Scarlett. This is the entry hall. The woodwork in the house, such as that on the windows, has been attributed to the early American architect, William Buckland, who also worked on a number of contemporary houses in Annapolis, many of which I have visited and one which I house-sat for a summer. image

Here’s another view of the hallway.imageimage

In each of the corners of the hall, there are depictions of the four winds.image

The Chinese Room including wallpapers imported from China.imageimage

The Green Room with its portrait of Governor Sharpe.imageimageimage

The main dining room.image

Hanging staircase to the lower level. image

The master bedroom.image

The family has put Whitehall into a trust and will be working with Historic Annapolis, Inc. to establish a school to teach preservation techniques, and with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to teach about the environment of the Chesapeake Bay. For more information, click here.

A visit to Whitehall is on my to-do list for this summer!

Photos: The Baltimore Sun/Chesapeake Home + Living