Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Flowers

After a very long and cold winter, it finally feels like spring is here in DC. Although spring officially arrived on March 20th, temperatures have been unseasonably cold. To welcome spring, I was going to show the early bulbs in our garden. But, alas, many have yet to bloom.

However, while in Europe a few weeks ago, I did come across really lovely floral arrangements. Some had unusual and interesting combinations of flowers and foliage. Others were simply but thoughtfully arranged. And many were readily available for purchase almost everywhere: flower boutiques, open-air markets and, even gas stations!

Welcome back, spring!!
Inside the 17th century town hall in historic Delft, Netherlands, I fell in love with this beautiful arrangement of pink amaryllis flowers, yellow tulips, craspedia pom poms, contorted filbert branches and wispy foliage of some sort (?).
 Look at these gorgeous pink ranunculus flowers for sale at a gas station. The quality is just superb. Something you won't find in gas stations here in DC!
 At the flower market in Delft, I followed this local customer (in the chic black coat) from stall to stall. She knew all the vendors, and who had the best selections.
 Above and below: two bouquets in hot color combinations. Does anyone know what these large red flowers are (below)?
 Aren't these cool color bouquets divine? I love the bit of wildness from the purple alliums.
 What a great idea to display little potted flowers in a wooden crate. Very charming! Totally copying that idea :)
 There were many flats of annuals and flowering perennials, including pristine hellebores, for sale at the Thursday open-air flower market in Delft. BTW, if you do not already have hellebores in your shade garden, go out and plant a bunch! I will share more on Delft and the Netherlands in a future post.
 At the very chic L'Atelier en Herbe located in front of Flamant on the Grand Sablon in Brussels, Belgium, you will find beautiful creations from florist Jean-Charles Harze.
Outside L'Atelier en Herbe was this display of magnolia branches and peony tulips.
And also window boxes with dramatic red and orange tulips.
 At the Paris flea markets, I couldn't stop admiring and smelling these hyacinths bulbs displayed in vintage oversized glass jars. So simple and in such a nonchalant fashion.
 From the mysterious anemones to the exquisite painted armoire to the grand scaled console table, I loved everything in Thibault Nossereau's shop.
And here are lilacs and hyacinths displayed with large tropical foliage outside a shop at the Paris flea markets.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

More from England!

As mentioned in my previous post, we were recently on a buying trip in Europe. The weather was glorious during our 10 days abroad. Though chilly, we had blue skies and periods of sunshine. On Portobello Road in London, this cherry tree (above photo) was putting on quite a show. I wonder if the pink door was inspired by the lovely blossoms?

Speaking of England, here are the rest of my photos from London and the English countryside:
Liberty - my favorite department store in London!
I always squeeze in an hour or two at this emporium where cool and eclectic meet charming and traditional. I just love the creative displays set against the backdrop of the Tudor style rooms.
A few vintage and mid-century pieces re-burbished and presented in clever ways, such as this loveseat with its new ethnic upholstery. The three antique English tea canisters would make divine lamps.   
Above: Looking down at the fabulous scarf tables, and a close-up of one of the scarves in an iconic Liberty print.
Leaving Liberty.....the best way to see London is by cab or sitting on top (front row) of a double decker bus.
Admiring the flats on a very posh street. I could live here :)
 The one and only Portobello Rd! Still touristy! Still fabulous!! On Saturday morning, we got up really early and shopped Portobello. Be there at 7:30 AM to beat the tourists. By 11:00 AM, it is a mob scene. And yes, there is junk but I always find treasures! ALWAYS!!
 On Sunday morning, we left London and drove to the countryside. We visited Buxted Park and the Palladian manor house, which was built in 1722. It is now a luxury hotel. No, we didn't stay there....only toured the expansive grounds and grand public rooms.
With over 300 acres and gorgeous reception rooms, the hotel is a popular wedding venue. I was more interested in the antique statuary and garden ornaments.
Above: Caryatids and footed urns stand sentinel around the motor court.
The magnificent orangery (above left).
Many impressive architectural details, carved mantels and classical embellishments can be found inside the stately house. Below is the ballroom.
Above: Situated within Buxted Park is the 750+ year old (13th century) St. Margaret the Queen's Church.
This beautiful pair of French Directoire trumeau mirrors with mercury glass will be in our shipment! Almost purchased the bobbin chair below.  Oh, well....  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Robert Kime

It feels terrific to be home! Tom and I just returned from a productive buying trip. We visited England, Belgium, Holland and France. Stayed in 6 hotels in 10 days! Just another whirlwind trip. But, hey, it was daily shopping, some sightseeing and the occasional splurge on fabulous food. So no complaints here. Actually it did involve a lot of driving and work: planning, researching and coordinating before, during and even after the trip. Too boring so I'll only share the highlights...starting in London.

After landing at Heathrow, we picked up our car and dashed off to Robert Kime's shop in Bloomsbury. Each time I am in London, I try to visit one of Kime's shops for worldly inspiration and a tiny bit of shopping. Kime is decorator by Royal Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales, designer, collector and dealer in antiques and textiles.

This was my first visit to the Bloomsbury location. Housed in two early Georgian townhomes, the shop has an eclectic collection of antique and new (designed by Kime) textiles and pillows. And period antiques as well as new furniture, lighting and accessories. It's like visiting an old-money English home with treasures plucked from the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul.

I want to thank Christopher Payne at the shop for his gracious and warm hospitality. Enjoy my photos from last week.
 Eclectic English style at its best. Welcome to the world of Robert Kime!
 Good taste never goes out of style. The shop is warm, cozy and beautifully layered.
 I am still coveting this English linen press with its original apple-green painted surface.
 Tom sat on this sofa and enjoyed a cup of coffee, while I was busy photographing everything.
 This carved stone mantel originally framed a doorway. The to-die-for antique Venetian mirror is from the 18th century.
 Antique blue-and-white Delft tiles surround many of the fireplaces.
 I'm not sure, but think the antique doors are from Morocco. So clever!
 Pillows! Pillows!! Pillows!!!
 More pillows! Kime is known for his signature Ikat and Ottoman inspired pillows - printed, woven, embroidered, etc.
 In addition, there is a marvelous selection of early 20th century artwork from British artists.
 Above: I came home with this antique brown-and-blue woven pillow. (There is another one available at Robert Kime, btw.) Doesn't it look divine on this blue painted Swedish settee from our shop?
This embroidered pillow was from a prior trip :) Yes, I'm a devotee!

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And the antique painting from the giveaway goes to # 169 - Maurie from PA. Maurie, would you please email me at topiaryplants@gmail.com?
Thank you ALL for entering. I greatly appreciate your enthusiasm and support, and have another giveaway coming soon. Please stay tuned!