Monday, November 28, 2016

Hello and New Shipment Preview

It's been toooo long! Lots to catch up on.

First, I hope you had a warm and wonderful Thanksgiving. Tom and I celebrated with my large family, feasting on turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, ham, pecan pie as well as Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese food - very international, very yummy! For those that do not know, I am the youngest of 12 so when I say large family that is an understatement considering spouses, significant others, nieces, nephews, and pets 🐶🐱

Thanks very much for your emails while I was "away" from the blog. I'm truly grateful for your support and friendship.  

The past few months have been incredibly busy - please pardon my absence. I miss writing about everything: home, garden, design, etc. In my next post, I'm finally ready to show the work that we've done at our Tudor, and take you on a tour as part of the exciting news that Tom and I will be sharing. 

In the meantime, enjoy this preview of the new shipment that arrived at Tone on Tone in mid-November. Seems like we spent weeks unpacking the 40-foot container, cataloging the new arrivals, setting up the shop.... The focus of this shipment is on Scandinavian painted antique furniture, a personal passion of mine. It's a classic collection full of pieces with charm, clean lines, and cool tones. Here's a peek:
This early 20th-century Swedish knee-hole desk (48.5" w x 26.25" d x 30.25" h) is such a versatile piece - can go traditional or transitional. It's perfect for working on the laptop, but also fabulous as a vanity or dressing table.
Here is another desk: an early 1800s Swedish petite (only 29.75" wide!) secretary in a charming blue color. It's sweet but simple. 
I have a thing for BLUE!  Here is a Danish Rococo bonnet top corner cabinet on a quirky stand. I can't decide if I should show it closed or opened - what say you? 
Doesn't the shop's collection of antique ironstone look even more beautiful displayed in such a stunning cabinet? By the way, those slots in the top shelf would have held the household's finest silver spoons.

Though 1827 is written inside one of the doors (most likely to mark a special year), the piece actually dates to the mid-1700s.
Also Rococo (in style) is this sideboard or buffet with an undulating serpentine front. While most of my Swedish pieces tend to be linear, I couldn't resist this sideboard's sculptural form. Note the reeded oval medallions on the doors.

Over the sideboard is an 18th-century Swedish oil on canvas of a Roman ruins landscape painted in a Grisaille manner. This large painting (40.5" w x 61" h), with its original wooden frame, most likely came out of a paneled Neoclassical room which would have been stylistically influenced by the recent excavations at Pompeii during the 1750s.
Speaking of sideboards, this elongated Mid-Century one is so stylish with its fretwork doors and slender legs. At 39.5" high, it's ideal as a buffet server or console under a TV.
Next to the sideboard is an antique Swedish Mora clock from Fryksdalen, Varmland (near Norway). It has that signature hourglass shape with lovely proportions.
Here are two of my favorite new chests. The one shown above is Italian from the late 1700s. The painted finish with Classical figures, urns and a faux marble top has been beautifully refreshed. The tall slender legs with fluting give it an airiness.

Below is a Swedish Gustavian chest with a laurel leaf band that wraps around the canted corners and sides. In addition to the bedroom, this chest (40" w x 19" d x 32.5" h) would make a handsome statement in a foyer, living room, etc.    
I love demi lune consoles for their form and function. This elegant pair from Sweden is unusually small (28.5" w x 15.25" d x 29.5" h) - perfect for those narrow walls. The two can be placed back-to-back to form a single table. 

The armchair is a French Directoire bergere that's been reupholstered in Belgian linen; the webbing and cushion fill (partially down) are all new. This is a small but comfy chair! 
For more info, please visit the shop's website, send me a personal email at or stop by the shop. And, don't forget to follow along on Instagram: @Loithai

Thanks so much

Sunday, September 18, 2016

White Fall Decor and New Arrivals

They're heeeeere!! Luminas, Baby Boos and other white pumpkins have invaded local grocery stores. While it is still somewhat warm to fully dive into fall decor, I just couldn't resist these ghostly beauties. With their pale patina and autumnal form, they are the perfect accent to transition from summer to fall.

At Tone on Tone, we are once again celebrating the arrival of fall with subtle inspiration from nature. Enjoy this preview, and stop by to see much more.
For this tabletop arrangement, I went WHITE ON WHITE. In an antique French painted iron urn, shed antlers are placed at the bottom, and then Baby Boo pumpkins and bleached pinecones are layered on top. That's it, so easy! (If you cannot find bleached pinecones, try spray painting.)

The arrangement sits on an antique French chest, but it would also look fabulous as a centerpiece on a dining or center table. It's interesting from every angle. And because it is low, it won't block the line of sight of dinner guests.
Here is our gleaming "great wall of china" where I like to display the shop's collection of antique white ironstone. On top of this Continental 9' long, narrow table, I casually placed three footed cakestands with piles of Baby Boos. To dress it up, a homespun linen runner underneath the cakestands would look smart. BTW, cakestands make everything, not just cakes, look more special. So elevate your fruits, pies, cookies as well as quiches to new heights!
From soup tureens to serving platters, our white ironstone pieces are ready for your dinner parties. Note the large oval fish platter with its original drainer in the center of the second shelf - quite scarce to find the set intact. The three footed stands on the far right were made for serving cheese; these are typically lower than cakestands.
Look at these two large, flat White Boer beauties! They are sitting on a French round tilt-top vendage / vineyard table that would have been brought out for special wine tasting occasions. At 46" diameter, it would make a lovely breakfast or center table.
Here are some fresh arrivals just in time for fall. A pair of newly upholstered Swedish barrelback chairs with unusual form - taller plus slightly larger than the typical Gustavian ones. They are sculptural, handsome and comfy, too.
These striking pillows are made with antique embroidered textiles. Both the azure, in that shade of sky found on clear autumnal days, and rich terracotta bring the splendor of autumn inside. The ground color is tan.

Speaking of pillows, I couldn't resist this fun, fuzzy one in teal - there is something very lux about Mongolian lamb. It makes our pair of antique French wingback chairs, with new Belgian linen and down filled cushions, even more inviting.

For the cooler nights ahead, cozy wingback chairs are must-haves! Our pair is beautifully and simply carved without all the fussiness.
This pair of antique Swedish painted chests is another new arrival. They have all the classic Gustavian elements: leaf-tip carving, fluting, clean lines and that chalky finish. 

The wildflowers (or weeds?) came from the side of the road. Yes, that was me snipping an armful on Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda :)
Please visit us at the shop or online to see additional new arrivals. We'll be adding more to the website soon.

Now a throwback to a few of my favorite fall moments from our shop and home.
A vignette featuring pieces with pale patina. The garden statues of spring and winter are available here.
Lining up the Luminas after a thorough washing in our former kitchen.
Warty gourds! Don't forget about the wide range of gourds available this time of year. When it comes to them, the quirkier the better. And like my pumpkins, I love them light and bright
A lighter shade of pale! Last season I created this white fall centerpiece with simple gatherings from nature. I had no idea it would become so popular. It went viral with over a million pins on Pinterest plus endless reposts on Instagram. Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Country Living and numerous blogs all featured it online. Many, many thanks to everyone for sharing it!!
Happy Fall!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

In the Limelight

Hello! Welcome back!

Where did summer go? There is still another month left, but with the bombardment of fall catalogs and the start of school (which is earlier each year) it sure seems like summer is being pushed aside.

Well, I'm not ready for fall yet (except, maybe, for the arrival of white pumpkins!). Neither are my LIMELIGHT hydrangeas in Maine. The twenty or so shrubs, planted three years ago, have finally filled into a showstopping hedge.

The Limelights are incredibly hardy. They are in full sun and don't mind, unlike other varieties including Annabelles which droop pitifully unless constantly watered. Plus, each one has made it through Maine's harsh winters only to bloom beautifully and abundantly.

Now 5' - 6' tall, our entire L-shaped hedge is covered in blooms of summery chartreuse that brighten to soft white. And when the temps start cooling, those flowers will turn pink signaling the true arrival of fall.

So catalogs, let's not push the fall merchandise just yet - summer is too short to rush!
When I was designing this garden, I knew the area needed boundary delineation, not so much for privacy but for structure. Instead of a fence, the space called for something living, friendly and soft. Because it would be prominently located and quite long, whatever was planted had to be pretty. I decided against a dark green hedge which would have been a little stiff, formal and monochromatic. After researching low maintenance shrubs that bloom reliably during July and August (when we are at our summer home), Limelight hydrangeas seemed a great choice.

Three years later, the L-shaped hedge, which runs along the back of our home and wraps around the side, has matured beautifully. Tom and I receive numerous compliments on our summer showstopper, which, by the way, is also lovely in the fall when the flowers turn rosy pink. And, we're told the hedge looks sculptural coated in the pristine Maine snow.   
From our breakfast and family rooms, we look out to this stunning view of stately historic houses, ancient Elm trees, and the Limelights. 
In Maine, the flowers open a lime green in late July (above) and soon turn white in August (below).
The hedge ends just before the kitchen located in the addition. Other than the ornamental cherry tree, this garden outside the kitchen, screened porch, and barn was recently planted.

When Tom and I acquired our historic home, there were diseased Maples, planted too close to the house, along with spindly Firs plus endless weeds of every kind. (See the before photos at the end.) We immediately had the big trees removed. After lots of weeding, we had the five Spruces planted for vertical structure and year round greenery. We then gathered the native ferns on our property and transplanted them around the trees. 

The latest additions are the three dwarf Limelights to the left of the barn doors. Planted in May, this is their first season. So far, so good.  
From the gravel drive to the house is a short pathway of granite blocks with moss growing between. There are also Astilbes (rescued from other garden beds on our property) and annual Salvias here.
What to do with all the flowers? Enjoy them inside, too! I filled the antique iron urn in our dining room with loads of Limelights for dinner parties and cocktail events. The above flowers were cut in early August, while the ones below in mid August. Note the different colors. 
Two more arrangements: one on the family room coffee table with ferns, and the other with Gooseneck Loosestrife in a pink Hungarian pottery jug.
Speaking of Gooseneck Loosestrife, they have taken over the front garden beds. Here they are blooming along with Phlox and Astilbes - I took the photo on a foggy morning.

Gooseneck Loosestrife is attractive but invasive. We inherited them, and do remove a few here and there. But since this is a second home, I try not to fuss too much about the garden. Whatever will grow happily with minimal watering AND still look good, I tend to leave alone.

Now let's check out some before photos.
In addition to the new landscaping, we replaced the roof as well as lots of rotted wood. All the clapboard and trim were scraped, cleaned and painted.

I love sharing a dramatic transformation :)
PS - See more on my INSTAGRAM.