Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Highlights of the Castine House and Garden Tour!

It's July and that means summer in Maine! Summer in Maine means lobsters, blueberries, sailing as well as house and garden tours.

I'm thrilled to say that the 2016 Castine House & Garden Tour, sponsored by the Castine Historical Society, was a huge hit with record attendance! From the 18 featured properties including historic homes, cabins, cottages, gardens plus the lighthouse to the perfect Maine summer day, the event was fun, festive and flawless.

A big thank you to the local volunteers who greeted every visitor with a friendly smile. The docents, shuttle drivers, and many others all deserve credit for their enthusiastic teamwork in making this event such a success. There would not have been a tour without Ruth and Lynne, the Co-Chairs, who started organizing, coordinating and managing every detail beginning last summer. And, thanks to those who generously shared their homes and gardens.

Thanks of course to the many visitors who kept coming all day! I'm especially grateful to my blog, Instagram and Pinterest friends for attending - appreciate your support! Though we're social media pals, it was awesome to finally meet in person :)

Without further delay, I'll share a quick highlight of what I was able to see. Because I volunteered as a docent, I didn't get a chance to catch and photograph every property. Click on photo to enlarge.
The beautiful tour poster designed by the talented Meredithe and her team at Meri Meri.
A few photos of our home on tour day.

Look, no more power lines! Our town recently buried all the power lines on Main Street. The sidewalks, granite curbs, lamp posts and asphalt are all new. Everything was finished just in time for the big event.
Inside, a few of my myrtle topiaries in the dining room were ready to greet visitors.
A stunning summer arrangement of wild grass, garlic scapes and dogwood branches created by Nancy for our antique iron urn. I asked her to go BIG and gutsy, but keep it informal.  Everyone, Tom and I included, couldn't stop admiring it. Merci, Nancy!!

Nancy (who lives in Castine) along with her team of volunteers arranged many of the stylish floral pieces for the tour.
The tour started at 10:00 AM but people started lining up early - there was such a buzz around town!
This historic home's edited palette of white, gray and black mixed with brown antiques and a pop of gold looked so striking.
ABOVE and BELOW: This cool, contemporary style beach house originally designed by acclaimed architect Neil Middleton in the 1980s was recently renovated. It is situated among fields of wildflowers with a panoramic view of the sea. Check out that industrial dolly as a coffee table. I want it!
ABOVE: A timeless cape with clean lines, simple color scheme and classic furnishings. Several little rooms were gutted to create this large, airy living space 
There was such a diverse collection of homes and gardens featured. Each had its own unique point of view. Here we have a 1930s log cabin that oozed charm, character and personality with custom built furnishings, Maine finds plus vintage items including the collection of fabulous lobster dishes. Don't you love that massive stone fireplace? Talk about showstopper!
Many houses in Castine are white inside and out, including ours, so it was exciting to see color used beautifully here. Also, the homeowners created these artistic arrangements with fresh flowers from their own gardens.
Speaking of gardens, this one perched high on the cliff overlooking the Penobscot Bay simply took my breath away. It was designed by Maine landscape architect Bruce Riddell. Native blueberries and lush ferns along with favorite perennials and specimen trees are tucked amongst bold granite resulting in a tapestry of plantings and stonework.
From Nashville to New York, thanks to my social media friends that came to the tour - such fun meeting everyone :) Hugs to Linda and her lovely family, Catherine and her gorgeous children, Elizabeth, Billie, Wayne and Glenda. I apologize if I missed anyone. Nearly 700 people came through our home!
Lastly, Tom and I are grateful to the 11 docents, including Ellie, Sylvia and Jane (visiting from England), who volunteered at our place. You all are the best!
Cheers,
Loi
PS - For more photos, check out my INSTAGRAM.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Castine House And Garden Tour

There is much to see and do in seaside Castine: golfing, sailing, kayaking, hiking, biking, playing tennis, museum going, shopping, dining, and relaxing on the beach. And this time of year, when Castine's weather is picture perfect, come experience our charming town - you'll be in for a treat!

Speaking of treat, on July 13th, the Castine Historical Society (CHS) is sponsoring the 2016 Castine House and Garden Tour. The last one was back in 2010, so don't miss this special opportunity to visit 11 private homes and 4 coastal gardens that are otherwise not open to the public. I'm thrilled that our home is included.

In addition, visitors will get to tour the CHS's recently restored Ca. 1850 Samuel P. Grindle House, a Greek Revival on the Town Common. Also included are the Ca. 1763 John Perkins House and Dyce Head Lighthouse built in 1828.

From historic houses to summer cottages, 18 properties, all located within the town village, will welcome visitors from 10 am - 4 pm rain or shine. Advanced tickets and more information are available on the website.

Many thanks to Lynne and Ruth, the Co-Chairs, for organizing this event. And thanks to the many volunteers for all of their work. Tom and I are super excited to be participating. We personally invite you to attend! Please help spread the word.

Here's a sneak peek. I took most of these photos over the Memorial Day weekend when we were up to open our home.
The weather was slightly chilly over Memorial weekend, but everything was lush in that fresh shade of spring green. I gardened as much as I could; felt great to dig in the dirt again! The two boxwood shrubs flanking the granite steps were just transplanted. Though full of perennials, I felt this area needed more structure.  
I'm planning on adding a few more shrubs to the beds, particularly near the barn / garage.
Below is a photo of our house taken in 1871 - looks completely different compared to today. That's because it was originally built in the Federal style in Ca. 1804.  Architectural changes in the Victorian taste were made in the late 1800s. A third floor was added along with a mansard roof.

When you visit on July 13th, check out the other Victorian details such as the staircase railings, windows, etc., as well as the original Federal features. Feel free to ask us or the hosts and hostesses.  
This handsome residence with its distinctive hexagonal shaped cupola will also be on the tour. It's known as the Ca. 1830s Samuel Adams House.

Adams was a successful merchant with a prominent general store in downtown Castine. He was one of the founders of the Adams and Abbott Schools, both still overlooking the Town Common. 

Let's head over to the Town Common. Below is the Samuel P. Grindle House, a Greek Revival built in Ca. 1850 for Grindle, a ship carpenter. It was acquired in 2008 by the CHS, and expertly restored and renovated to provide research and small exhibition spaces, staff offices, and state of the art archival storage.  
Here is the newly decorated front parlor with furnishings, fixtures and wallpaper that are all appropriate to a house of this period - it's what the Grindles might have used during the mid 19th century. See more on July 13th.
Two photos (courtesy of the CHS) of the Grindle House. The above image is from the 1870s; below photo taken during the restoration.
In addition to the crisp white clapboards, Castine is graced with many other beautiful and unique homes. Don't miss this stunning Ca. 1890s Arts and Crafts cottage perched on the ledges of Dyces Head with breathtaking views of the sea. Behind is the lighthouse. Photo (below) courtesy of Saltmeadow Properties.
Dyce Head Lighthouse will also open to tourgoers. This is high on my list as I've never been inside.
At the John Perkins House, now a museum, visitors will step back in time to experience 18th century living in Castine's oldest standing home. Originally built on Court Street, it was moved piece by piece in 1969 to the current location overlooking the harbor.
Here is one of the featured gardens. It's on the grounds of the Ca. 1796 Parson Mason House. An allee of standard lilacs graciously leads visitors to the terraced gardens beyond.

There are many more homes and gardens to enjoy. Plus a lovely luncheon at the Manor Inn.
 
Now for a quick stroll around town.      
Please visit the 2016 Castine House and Garden Tour website for all the information. You can purchase your advanced ticket at a reduced rate HERE.

Hope to see you!
Cheers,
Loi
PS - For more, follow along on my INSTAGRAM.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Our Newest Shipment!

Well, hello there!

Remember me :) ? It's been toooooo long. Apologies for being out of touch. Lots going on, and life has been crazy busy.

Tom and I are still living at the apartment while work continues at our Tudor cottage. I'd share photos but it's kinda yucky during construction. 

What have we done? Let's see...we've gutted a bathroom, boarded up a window, removed a bulky radiator, installed a wall of bookcases, rebuilt the fireplace box, added ceiling beams, updated the HVAC system, etc, etc. Oh, the asphalt roof will be replaced with slate tiles very soon. I know, I know: we need an intervention. Help!

We've also been swamped unpacking our newest shipment. The collection is a bit eclectic with a mix of styles. From Art Deco to Georgian, the point of view is slightly different but still edited. I had fun putting everything together. Hope you like my latest finds. Shall we have a look?
There are many new mirrors, including ones with gilded, painted and stripped frames. Of course they all have their desirable old glass plates; some of the mercury mirrors are fabulously foxed.

Here is a pair of French round mirrors that have retained their early painted surfaces. I've hung them over a pair of Swedish Gustavian chests. Flanking a French marriage armoire (with beautiful carved doors), the mirrors and chests would look equally lovely on each side of a doorway or fireplace.
This 44" x 60" (large) Italian mirror has been stripped down to its gesso surface with much of the carved wood showing. It's a piece with understated presence.
Now for a little pizazz: a French gilt mirror featuring an undulating piecrust border. 
Three centuries of style in this corner. The mirror above the garden statues is 18th century French. Another 18th century find is an English Georgian arched transom having great scale. From the 19th century are two Swedish pieces: a tall Gustavian sideboard and an Empire console table. Then from the 20th century are a Belgian bobbin bench and French Art Deco Champagne bucket.
Measuring 56.5" wide x 29" high, this transom makes a statement. Can you imagine how grand the door must have been? I'd love to see it mounted over a linen headboard or fireplace mantel.

Below the transom is a pair French Directoire cast iron urns with exceptional patina.
Here's another architectural piece: a 1700s Italian carved panel featuring a fretwork window. Again, wouldn't you like to see the room it came from? I'm picturing decadent silk panels tied back with ornate tassels.
This French faux bamboo mirror with its heavily foxed mercury glass is more of an art piece than mirror. The frame is carved walnut.
Mix darkwood with painted finish? Yes, try it! Look how the beechwood armchair pops in front of the painted desk.   
In addition, there are lots of tables that just arrived. This Italian glass-top table (51" diameter x 30" high) has a gorgeous baluster base in reconstituted limestone. As a center table, it makes a dramatic focal point. As a small dining table, it stylishly seats up to six comfortably.
Above is a French chestnut farm table with a casual yet elegant spirit. By the way, most of the French farm tables are in cherry, so this is a bit unusual.

Speaking of unusual, this American industrial slate and steel piece makes a cool coffee table. Check out those chunky castors.
From the mid 1900s is a French cocktail table with a beveled glass top and shapely iron base. Tres chic!
At Tone on Tone, there is always a selection of silver gilt mirrors. When I saw this tall beauty, I scooped it up right away. Though from the late 1800s, there is a streamlined modernity about that silver frame.
I've got the blues! A selection of pieces in shades of cool.

The vivid colors, textures plus movement in this still life painting take my breath away. 
Two blue-gray French accent chairs; the right has a Belgian woven linen slipcover. 

Who needs a sink vanity base? How about converting this original painted French sideboard?  
As always, lots more in the shop. 

And, as always, thank YOU for reading. I can't wait to start sharing photos of the Tudor. Soon, my friends :)

Cheers,
Loi 
For more, please follow along on INSTAGRAM