Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Country Life at Winterthur

Why do I love Winterthur? Perhaps it’s the extraordinary collection of American decorative arts housed in the stately Du Pont home. Maybe it’s the bucolic setting in the picturesque Delaware Brandywine Valley. Or, the specimen trees, shrubs and rare plants on the estate’s naturalistic landscape. I would say all of the above. 

Winterthur was the country home of Henry Francis Du Pont---industrialist, collector and horticulturalist. Unlike his contemporaries collecting European furnishings, Du Pont had a passion for furniture, antiques and decorative arts made or used in America. He furnished his 175 room home with the best of the best. Always with the intention of sharing his collections, he opened Winterthur to the public in 1951.

I love to visit this special home, museum, library, and horticultural gem. Winterthur, to me, is gracious country living in a magical setting. Enjoy these photos from my weekend trip.
The formal box scroll garden adorned with ornaments.
 The last few peony flowers in the walled peony garden. Sadly the peak was over, but still so beautiful.
 The stately conservatory fitted with bronze and glass windows and doors.
 A lattice pavilion with carved millstone as stoop.
 Lilies and ferns naturalizing in the woodlands.
 Elaborate terracing leads down to the formal reflecting (formerly swimming) pool.
 I love the steep land - looking back and up towards the house.
 A bronze sea horse.
 Potted plants on the upper loggia.
 An intricate fan light and elaborate moldings.
 Classical style furnishings with delicate fretwork.
    An impressive curved, floating staircase.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Shopping at Terrain

I get really excited before a field trip up to Terrain in the Brandywine Valley of PA. GPS programmed, check. EZ Pass toll card, check. Station wagon readied, check. Let's go!

With 2 locations, Terrain is the super cool and uber stylish nursery with the most amazing selection of plants, ornaments, furniture, accessories, books, textiles, and everything fabulous for home and garden. The PA store is located on the grounds of a former nursery, Styers, and features a charming restaurant in the old greenhouse---make a reservation as it is popular. Oh, and BTW, Terrain is owned by Urban Outfitters / Anthroplogie. So, you know the displays are gonna be awesome!

Recently, I invited my friend, Elaine, to join me on a field trip up to Terrain.  We got there early so I could snap these photos:

 A fantastic offering of the latest books on gardening, design, cooking, living, etc.
 Terrariums were everywhere!
 This terrarium is made from a large vintage apothecary bottle.
 Gravel and rocks for your own terrariums.
 I love this olive tree!
European table top linens.
 Fine tools
 Topiary standard cranesbill geraniums in bloom.
 An awesome display of pots and containers!
 The restaurant / cafe in the old greenhouse serves organic cuisine.
 Our drinks were served in vintage canning jars - NICE!
 I saved my favorite for last: a summer cottage on the grounds. Notice the burlap curtains.

 Lovely displays inside the cottage.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Timeless Swedish Style

I am so grateful when clients ask for my assistance in furnishing and decorating their house. Imagine how thrilled I was when I had the opportunity to help my friend and client, Linda, with another home. I had worked on the previous home, but what made the second experience so special and effortless were the following:

-We were able to reuse everything from the prior home. Curtains and hardware, furniture, rugs, etc. Nothing was wasted.  
-The familiarity and connection had already been established, allowing us to move rather quickly.
-The home, built in 1928, has the most amazing architecture, bones and timeless details.

As this home was previously published in the Washington Post, and featured on Cote de Texas, I'd like to share some new photos I took recently. Enjoy this charming house from my perspective.

 Hinson's blue seagrass wallpaper in the library. Notice the tall floor to ceiling windows and French doors.
 Slipper chair in Bennison Christmas Roses; Painted antique bench; George Smith sofa in chocolate mohair velvet; and wool carpet from CG Coe & Son. I converted an antique urn into a lamp on the Swedish side table.
Pair of original diamond leaded windows in kitchen.
 Linda chose white cabinetry, thick marble counter tops, farm sink, and lovely gooseneck faucet.
We painted the kitchen floors a checkerboard "tone on tone" gray.
Peonies from the garden.
One of my favorite architectural elements of the house is this stunning limestone mantel with a tapered chimney breast top (not shown). Polished steel fireplace fixtures.
The living room with beamed ceiling and arched doorway with French doors leading into the sunroom.
New radiant heating under the limestone tiles laid on Versailles pattern. I love the original brass window hardware.
Antique French fauteuil in Chelsea Textiles small checks. The zinc rooster weathervane came from the family home.
An original forged and wrought iron gate.
I suggested a boxwood and gravel side garden when grass wouldn't grow there.
The landscape was designed by the late Michael Bartlett, a renowned landscape architect. There are numerous boxwoods, trained ivy columns, climbing roses, peonies, hydrangeas, and stately old trees.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Once a Year!

Once a year, a certain wildling outside our kitchen window redeems itself with a spectacular show. We inherited this quite old and unruly shrub, and had planned to remove it after completion of the house renovation. The contractors even whacked it back severely. The whacking stopped one spring when I noticed an abundance of white flowers. White! Be still my heart! What have we done to this poor thing? Well, in our defense it does look rather pedestrian when not in bloom. After some research, I learned the shrub is a deutzia. For two weeks each spring, she becomes my dazzling deutzia!

In addition to the deutzia, these plants are blooming now.

 Ms. Deutzia in full bloom outside our gray kitchen
 I took this photo on a clear blue sky morning
 A portico bench in the potting area next to the deutzia
In front, white shrub roses are blooming
 These single white roses will bloom continuously from May to October
 American wisteria vines on the pergola terrace
 This is mischievous Mocha not wanting to come inside. You all met her brother Panda recently.
     Amsonia "Blue Ice" and alliums blooming in the blue garden