Monday, April 28, 2014

More Southern Living Photos: Our Blue Garden

Greetings ~

For those who celebrated Easter (I know I'm a bit late here), I hope your day was filled with family, food and flowers. We usually join Tom's family for Easter brunch, and it is always a special gathering with pretty spring blooms and delicious food. 

However, this past Easter we moved furniture up to our place in Maine. Thanks to Tom's careful packing and planning, the move was pretty successful...except for one hiccup: our rental moving truck broke down en route. We ended up spending a night at a hotel off the highway and, the next day, moving the entire contents from one 24 foot truck to another :( Thankfully the remainder of trip went much smoother. A special thanks to our friends Steve and Darlene for all of their help!  

While I regroup and catch my breath, please enjoy the rest of the Southern Living photos of our garden. These are of the blue garden, which I designed around a cool color palette of blues, lavenders and purples. Thanks so much to photographer Helen Norman for her lovely photos. And of course, many thanks to Southern Living magazine - especially garden editor Rebecca Bull Reed. If you missed part one, click here.
For whimsy, a pair of faux bois concrete boots tucked in the garden bed.
An early spring view with our neighbor's house behind the row of Cryptomeria Japonica Yoshino trees.
Spanish Bluebells' vivid blue hue.
Lovely bell-shaped lavender flowers grace this Columbine.  
Look at the sensational spikes of indigo flowers from the Baptisias during mid spring! I love their pea-like foliage.
Two varieties of pansies in shades of lavenders.
ABOVE: Clusters of tall purple Alliums punctuate the borders, taking the eye up.
Transplanted from our neighbor Mary's garden, these Siberian Irises are adapting quite well. Their delicate petals look hand painted.
A summer moment in the blue garden with the double row of Hidcote Lavenders in full bloom.
And a clematis with the prettiest blooms.
PS - Enjoy more photos as well as a garden plan here.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sharing Paint Colors and More

Remember our new place in Maine? I'm thrilled to say we'll be moving furniture up very soon :)

If you are a new reader, first of all, welcome, and please allow me to catch you up to speed. After an extensive search for a vacation home, Tom and I finally found - thanks to realtor Karen Koos of Saltmeadow Properties - a historic gem in Castine, Maine. Maintenance had unfortunately lapsed on our 1804 home. The last few years were unkind and especially harsh - much TLC was needed. Well, it's been just over four months since closing, and the house already looks much better thanks to an amazing team.

Before I show the work of these talented craftsmen, I'd like to share a special book I received from the worldly Timothy Corrigan via a giveaway hosted by Jennifer of The Pink Pagoda. Many thanks to Timothy and Jennifer!

An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Luce is an exclusive and personal tour of designer Timothy's magnificent chateau in the Loire Valley of France. Marvel at the grand architecture and the best-of-the-best in custom furniture, period antiques and important art. Here's my signed copy at our shop:

BTW, are you familiar with The Pink Pagoda's online store featuring stylish prints, original art and gracious home accessories? Don't miss the lovely collection of Chinoiserie blue-and-white pieces. My favorites are the ginger jars.

Now let's check out the progress at Castine.
ABOVE: All the walls and trim in this guestroom were in desperate need of a good scrubbing and fresh coat of paint. Even the pine floors looked a bit yellowy.
Newly painted! I chose Benjamin Moore Wickham Gray for the walls - a soothing mid-tone gray. The trim is Benjamin Moore 75% White Dove in satin impervo low lustre.
Floor is a custom color with a glossy sheen. Our wonderful and meticulous painter, Dan Bergin, applied the paint with a roller and, then immediately, brushed it out so we wouldn't have that roller texture. Dan and his crew at Bergin Painting did an incredible job throughout the house. Have you ever painted a 210 year old house? It's no easy task. Tom and I couldn't be more pleased with the awesome work by Dan and his team!
Here is another bedroom with the same color scheme. Wickham Gray looks historic yet fresh and relevant. Its neutral spirit is a lovely backdrop for gilt, whether gold (below) or silver (see first photo at top). 
For another bedroom, the walls are painted Benjamin Moore Gray Sky - a true sky blue. This room gets endless sunshine so the blue is tempered by the bright light. On cloudy days it can read a bit pastel, which is fine because we want it to always feel cheerful and summery. 
ABOVE: A "before" photo showing the family and breakfast rooms - notice the back staircase dividing them. This staircase was concealed in a closet, and had been abandoned (covered over) by the previous owners. Tom and I decided to have it removed to open these rooms.
Two work in progress photos.
BELOW: Ta-da! Staircase gone; floors patched; trim matched; and surfaces freshly painted. Because this is an old house, I chose a soft white that's easy on the eye. Walls are in Benjamin Moore White Dove and trim is 75% White Dove.
Please meet the very skillful, detail oriented and resourceful Mark Maltezos. Mark is our carpenter / contractor extraordinaire! He removed that back staircase, matched existing moldings, installed flooring, hung window shutters, replaced rotted doors, etc. This Mainer can do anything! Contact Mark at 

Mark Maltezos Carpentry
Penobscot, Maine
ABOVE: A "before" photo of the yellow living room with an arched over-mantel niche. BELOW: The living room now without that fanciful niche - simple and clean.  
I chose a tone-on-tone color palette here: Benjamin Moore 100% Classic Gray for walls and 50% Classic Gray for trim. Floors are a custom gray and, once again, in gloss. It all seems very gray, but color is coming - I promise :)
Oh, BTW, we told everyone not to touch the crusty surface on this mantel - it's just the way we like it :)
We're keeping the window treatments very simple: half shutters on the bottom throughout the first floor. The wider windows received two sets of bi-folds (BELOW) while the narrower ones (ABOVE) were fitted with two single shutters.
Just like kitchen cabinet doors, I prefer recessed paneling with a simple bead to keep it from looking too Shaker. And, I always insist on the bottom rails be stacked / weighted. 

It was quite a challenge to hang the shutters as the windows had settled so unevenly. For the shallow-depth windows, carpenter Mark Maltezos compensated with a clever molding strip attached to the stiles. Great work, Mark!
All the window shutters were custom made by the talented Fred Mitchell of Shutter Works in Lewiston, Maine. We love our shutters, Fred. They turned out really nice. Below is Fred with a pair of custom shutters for another client - now those are cool! I'd love to see them in situ. BTW, Shutter Works will ship out of state.
Tom and I would like to thank Dan, Mark and Fred for their fine work. We are grateful to each of them!
Gotta run and help Tom pack - wish us luck!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Paris: Les Puces, Personalities and Pooches

From a 1918 letter by author, cartoonist and journalist Jame Grover Thurber (1894-1961):

"...the whole of Paris is a vast university of Art, Literature and is worth anyone's while to dally here for years. Paris is a seminar, a post graduate course in Everything."
What do you love about Paris? For me, it's the iconic monuments, grand architecture and cafe culture - watching the soigne chic while enjoying a cup of coffee...ooh, la, la!

But there is a special place I return to each time: The Marche aux Puces de Saint-Ouen. It's here at the flea markets that you'll be greeted (or not) by the personalities and pooches that rule Les Puces. It's here that you'll find the extraordinary along with the ordinary. And, it's here that you'll learn the difference between Louis XVI and Maison Jansen. I love visiting Les Puces to learn, shop and be inspired!
A beautiful day in Paris! By the way, I wrote a post on antiquing at the Paris flea markets last year. If you are interested in an introduction, please read that post first. Don't forget to come back :)
Arriving at the Puces and I'm already in love with this vintage Citroen...
...and these sunbleached pine floors in driftwood tones!
Look at this display of well-loved artist's palettes and brushes - genius! And what an impressive collection of antique architectural plaster roundels and rosettes. Note how each one is custom mounted on a metal stand. A cluster of them in varying sizes would be terrific on a console, bookcase, etc. 
What are you looking at? Moi? :)
ABOVE: These two were super friendly despite being camera shy. BELOW: Assisting in a game of chess.
Please don't buy this Napoleon III armchair - it's my favorite, right, Emmanuel? Emmanuel Renoult exhibits at Marche Paul Bert, and I always admire his good eye.
Look closely at this pair of Thonet style armchairs offered by Emmanuel. They are made entirely of metal, which is an unusual departure from the norm of bentwood.
Introducing the effervescent Monsieur Cyril! A retired finance civil servant, Cyril is now pursuing his passion for antique china. Find him and his fabulous wares at Marche Paul Bert. BELOW: Cyril's collection of antique English pewter teapots. Aren't those French tulips divine?
Mademoiselle and her lovely flowers to cheer up shop keepers and shoppers - tres jolie!
Bonjour! What comfy looking chairs!!
You never know what you'll find at Les Puces. Need a Mid Century daybed? Or carved marble hands sculpted by academy students? (Coming soon to Tone on Tone.)
Or how about a giant mushroom, Tom?
And now, a little preview of some pieces coming to the shop:
Three carved gilt wood (not resin) sunburst mirrors with unusual form. The one above with convex glass is quite large. The beautiful oval one can hang horizontally or vertically. The small one, also with convex glass, features curvacious sun rays.
Speaking of mirrors, here is a handsome English bullseye mirror with unusual beading and convex glass. This is a fine model.
Now a look at some chairs starting with this French Napoleon III faux bamboo armchair with the palest honey patina - yum! It would be smashing with a down-filled cushion over the cane seat.
ABOVE: An irresistible pair of old painted French Directoire style armchairs with slightly larger porportions. BELOW: A quirky pair of French bobbin armchairs to liven up a room. Made of exotic rosewood (quite hard), these sturdy chairs have oodles of character. Notice their castors.
Gosh, I'm starving! Let's have dinner...something French but not too pricey, okay?
At Le Souffle, we enjoyed a lovely meal of savory and sweet souffles. (I'd suggest not having souffles for the main course AND dessert - just a bit too rich.) This classic and beloved restaurant has been around since 1961.
So long, Paris ~