Saturday, September 29, 2012

Welcoming Autumn

We’re enjoying marvelous weather here in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Sunny, comfortable days with low humidity and lovely cool evenings. Last weekend, a visit to the countryside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania seemed like a splendid idea.We decided to visit the small farms and local nurseries in search of seasonal items to decorate our home and shop for autumn. Check out our little trip.

 Hello! I've died and gone to white pumpkin heaven :)
 Look at all these Lumina white pumpkins . . .
 . . . and these mini white pumpkins known as Baby Boos. Divine!
 I think it's pretty obvious we aren't doing orange this year.
 On the way home, I spotted this AWESOME barn. Check out the peeling white paint and folksy decorated arched shutters...and the interesting letters. Wonder what the barn is used for?
 One potato, two potato . . .
 Also picked up an ornamental kale to go in this white ironstone bowl.
 Couldn't resist these quirky white gourds for the shop.
 I'm loving them on this antique French fish platter.
          

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Collecting and Displaying Weather Vanes

Many friends, clients and I share a passion for antique weather vanes. These symbolic, charming, and sometimes folksy pieces have gone from assisting farmers, sailors and others with weather forecasting and wind patterns to becoming highly collectible art. Collectors look for rarity in form, craftsmanship, original condition and size---either big and bold or diminutive. Did you know many have bullet holes as a result of being the unfortunate targets of hooligans, etc? Additionally, a weather vane atop a barn might have represented a farmer’s prized or signature animal. If you see a cow vane, it could've once been on a cattle farm. 

Here are a few of my favorites displayed in homes:
My friend Lori's 19th Cen Dexter Running Horse vane in her family room. I suggested Dexter go behind the sofa between the lamps from my shop (converted from antique French balusters). Dexter's silhouette looks especially handsome back lit. 
Many famous racing horses were depicted on weather vanes based on the prints of Currier and Ives. Dexter, also known as King of the Turf, was a sensational racer. He is depicted below by C&I charging in mid air with his head down.
The famous Morgan trotter Blackhawk in Michelle's dining room. To read more about Michelle's home, go here. 
The contrast between the fine creamware and Blackhawk's patina is particularly striking.
Standing on the mantel in Michelle's living room is this unusually small American gilded cow. I love the little horns.
In Linda and Kit's conservatory is this American crowing rooster, which is from the family home. Read more here.   
In our home is this gilded copper Federal Eagle on top of a pedestal table. It perches above a sphere and directional arrow. 
This rare English iron bannerette is in my shop.
I recently visited Dennis Raleigh Antiques in Wiscasset, Maine. I met Dennis, a specialist in folk art, years ago at an antiques show, and have purchased wonderful items from him.
Blackhawk and Smuggler Running Horse from Dennis.
A trio of quills most likely from libraries, school houses, etc. Left from Skinner and others from Christie's.
The "best of the best" in Jerry Lauren's Manhattan apartment as featured in Antiques and Fine Art. Above and below photos by Ellen McDermott.
 
 A magnificent Leaping Stag from the Lauren collection.
Actress Candice Bergen's East Hampton dining room from Architectural Digest. Photo by Scott Frances.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Visiting Snug Harbor Farm

I recently found out Tricia Rose of Rough Linen is a finalist in Martha Stewart's American Made contest, which celebrates small business owners and their inspiring products. Tricia works with natural linens, and makes beautiful homespun products from her atelier. I'm a fan of Tricia's work, and know she would be grateful for your vote here. Thanks so much!

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Okay, I know you all think I’m obsessed with topiary plants. Well, maybe just a bit! And guess what we did in Maine last week? Visited Snug Harbor Farm in Kennebunk so I could buy check out their famous "tops." I behaved.....came home with only four :)

Snug Harbor Farm is more than topiaries, it is a plantsman’s paradise! In addition to annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees, SHF grows and stocks many hard to find house plants such as unusual ivies, fancy begonias and topiaries of many varieties: myrtles, fuchsias, lavender, etc.

I could have spent all day there. The grounds were beautiful and natural. Many charming buildings, barns and sheds dotted the property. There were also exotic birds and chickens. The entire farm had a lovely carefree feel.
 One of many buildings with wonderful home and garden items.
 Produce organically grown at the farm.
 I headed straight for the topiary greenhouses!
 The topiaries are grown in custom hand thrown terra-cotta pots.
 A dovecote.
Glorious old barns, sheds and outbuildings filled with pots, tools and garden items for sale.
 Plants neatly lined up in grassy fields.
    

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Old Maine

One of the things Tom and I love doing is taking road trips. And what a road trip we just took! We drove all the way from DC to Maine and back, and fortunately, traffic was a breeze both ways.

Following the southern coast of Maine, we visited York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Then we went up mid coast and explored Wiscasset, Boothbay and Camden. While the bustling towns were fun, we quickly veered off and sought quieter neighborhoods, historic villages, less touristy towns and "Old Maine." Among some of our favorites were Old York, Bath and East Boothbay.  

Maine was breathtakingly beautiful with the sea, lakes, estuaries, hills, meadows and farmland. We loved the bold, rugged and rocky shoreline. But the peaceful wildflower meadows were equally delightful. Enjoy these photos. More to come in a future post.
 The hauntingly bleak but beautiful Olson House in Cushing. You may be familiar with this house as it was depicted many times by the artist Andrew Wyeth. I will post more on Andrew Wyeth and this home, which is now a museum.
 The soft color palette inside is very Scandinavian inspired. I love the blue painted walls.
 Wildflower meadow with the St George River in the background.
 While Ogunquit was touristy, the Marginal Walk along the coast was phenomenal. Below is the little Marginal Way Lighthouse.
 Tom trying to figure out how to climb off the boulder??
Me moving my head out of the way so you can see the Cape Neddick Nubble Lighthouse in York.
 The quintessential Maine white clapboard saltbox.We went searching all over for them, and here is an 18th century example. Pure, simple and unapologetic.
 Two historic homes in Old York.
 
Lobster traps and fishing boats in the small coastal village of Cape Porpoise. 
 A white clapboard Neogothic (?) style church in charming Bath. 
 This shop in Wiscasset was closed. Sorry I forgot the name :( It is what I call "high country."
 
 Of course we went to lobster shacks! Enjoying our lobster rolls on a picnic table - utterly delicious!!
 I would love to live in East Boothbay. This was our favorite village, and below is this amazing 18th century saltbox with stables across the road. 
        ABOVE: A weather-beaten grand dame.
 This house above is for sale. I wouldn't mind all the work, but the site is not ideal. The arrangement of the oval windows is so special. And guess what? Right around the corner is the below house with similar oval windows.
Here is upscale and busy Camden. The harbor is so quaint.

Have you been to Maine?
Cheers,
Loi