Monday, October 16, 2017

Autumn in Maine

Fall is such a brilliant time of the year! It's as if Mother Nature took a brush and painted everything in the most fiery shades of the spectrum. Though I'm a devotee of all things pale, I simply cannot resist fall's vibrancy.

Recently Tom and I traveled to Maine to check on the progress of our landscaping work. (I've designed a new garden for us in Castine, and can't wait to share the results next summer.) We timed our trip up north hoping for seasonal color. Well, we were treated to a stunning foliage show - W🍁W!

Have a look . . .
We started in southern Maine where most of the trees were still green. The homes however looked so festive. Love this circa 1810 Colonial in Kennebunk - talk about fall curb appeal!    
Above is another historic home in Kennebunk. This Greek Revival, with a row of pumpkins and squash over the entry plus frightful spiders, is all ready for Halloween.

Further north and higher up, Baxter State Park in Millinocket was ablaze in a sea of gold, orange and red. I took the following two photos near the park's entrance.  
In Bucksport (below three photos) located thirty minutes from our town of Castine, the yellow elms looked dazzling against the crisp clapboard homes. Many stately elms still grace the streets of Maine.  
The next home is in the artsy town of Belfast, where we like to go for lunch at Young's Lobster Pound, Chase's Daily, and Darbys. Also, the local shops and galleries are charming - don't miss Brambles, Sail Locker, and others if you visit.  
On the road home, we passed this red barn sitting behind a row of red oaks in Penobscot. Perhaps our next place will be a converted barn?

Here's another red barn. This one in Castine was tucked behind a grove of golden maples.   
Back at our cottage, I brought autumn inside with a few branches of maples. In the bottom of the vase, I placed granite rocks to help secure the top heavy branches in place.
We closed out the season with a dinner at our place - a fun night with friends! I almost went colorful with the tablescape, but decided on a blue-and-white coastal setting with just a hint of fall courtesy of the Lumina pumpkins.
And here is our circa 1863 cottage before renovation. I remember walking the dogs around the yard covered in crunchy leaves.

PS - Follow me on INSTAGRAM for more fall inspo!  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Welcoming Fall

Dear friends,

Happy FALL!  Finally, it's cooler - yay!

I want to let you know that I'm still here, and have not abandoned my blog. Lots of new posts in the works, including a preview of our new shipment that's en route, so please stay tuned.

After returning from Maine, Tom and I went on a buying trip to Scandinavia. We have a fabulous collection of painted sideboards, pairs of chests, vitrine / glass fronted cabinets, tables, etc. The shipment should arrive in mid-October. If you are looking for something special, do let me know.

This past weekend the weather was absolutely delightful. I was inspired to start decorating our home for the season. And, inspired to entertain. We invited a group of neighbors over for drinks. Also, we had friends over for lunch in the courtyard.

Enjoy these photos.
Still waiting for the trees to turn color here in DC. I decided our courtyard needed a splash of autumnal color. Don't the mums look especially vibrant in the antique French green ceramic pots from Provence? For the centerpiece, I mixed dried Annabelle Hydrangeas with (very realistic looking) faux branches of Pin Oaks. Yes, I went faux! The galvanized bucket is vintage from Europe - I have a few more available at the shop.
Since the weather was a little brisk, I provided cozy yet lightweight wool throws, in different plaid patterns, for everyone. Learned this from our travels throughout Scandinavia where many cafes and restaurants will often drape, during the cooler months, their outdoor seating with inviting blankets for patrons. 
Of course I had to pick up a few Baby Boo pumpkins. They brighten a lantern on the foyer windowsill. For more of my fall decor ideas, click here. Also, check out my INSTAGRAM.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Bringing the Garden Inside at Tone on Tone

Welcome back!

Hope your summer was fun yet relaxing. Tom and I spent much of July and August in Castine, Maine. You can see photos of our new cottage as well as the quaint seaside towns we explored on my INSTAGRAM.

It's good to be back at Tone on Tone. Our shop is quite personal; it really feels like another home. I always miss being away. We've been in this retail location for 13 years - that's longer than any of the homes we've lived in. There is a definite point of view. Each item is personally selected, and there isn't a piece that I wouldn't take home. Actually a few have been.

As at home, I love to bring the garden inside. That's my favorite way to accessorize. I am passionate about incorporating myrtle topiaries, ferns and other plants in my decor, as they breathe life into the vignettes and surrounding spaces. Read more about my topiaries in this post.

If you don't have a green thumb or ideal sunlight, try hardy houseplants like philodendron or ivy. Both tolerate low light and should live (with benign neglect and the occasional watering) close to a month indoors, which is much longer than a floral arrangement. In fact, treat them like cut flowers and toss out when spent. Don't feel bad if they do not last forever.

In addition to plants, I accessorize with jardinieres, statues plus other items such as botanicals and artwork that reference the garden. I seek that connection to nature, and want my interiors to transition seamlessly to the outside.

Let's have a look around Tone on Tone. Click on photo to enlarge.
I couldn't resist these enchanting English (cast composition / concrete) squirrel statues from the mid 20th century. The small squirrel is life size, while the large one stands about 13.5" high. On a tabletop with topiaries in mossy pots and shed antlers, it's like a scene out of a woodland garden.
More garden friends! These felines are absolutely delightful and a bit whimsical. They are also English from the 1900s. Let's call the big one a he. And the long-haired beauty looks more like a she.
This big boy (about life size, 19" long x 17" high) would be charming layered under a table, or perched on an outdoor stoop to greet visitors. He reminds me of my friend's cat who follows her all around the garden. 
Does anyone know what breed this long-haired kitty is? She (about 10" high) has traces of old paint. I'd pair her next to an exotic orchid on top of a tall chest so she can be easily admired. Also, kitty would be a fun surprise tucked between perennials in the front of the border.
Here we have a vintage Shih Tzu or Pekingese with the most amazing patina of moss and lichen accentuating that luscious coat. What a face - talk about personality!
Now a look at some of the pitchers in the shop. Many have motifs plucked from Mother Nature.
First up is this pitcher (11.5" high) carved from a single block of wood. Look at the birds, foliage plus flowers - what texture! It's a piece of folk art that makes a bold statement.
Here is an American Aesthetic Movement (Ca 1880s) silver plated pitcher with a hammered body heightened with foliage, flora, and fauna from an Oriental garden. I've deliberately let it tarnish to a pewtery patina to get that mellow luster.
Amazing detail of wispy bamboo and cobweb complete with a spider. Wouldn't this pitcher be smashing with brilliant red poppies?
Next is an antique ironstone pitcher with transferware design of trailing vines around the words ice water. Simple and utilitarian, but full of humble charm.
Speaking of utilitarian, these early blown glass cloches were made to protect tender plants from a late spring frost. It's rare to find them in such perfect condition with the finials still intact. These sculptural pieces catch the light beautifully.
I love symmetry and pairs! Two exquisite floral still life paintings hang over a pair of unusually small cast iron planters on Swedish consoles.
The signed oil on canvas paintings of anemones and daffodils, with original frames (21.5" x 21.5"), were exhibited in 1934. 
A closer look at one of the 19th-century planters reveals an intricate daisy pattern. Each planter measures 17" wide x 7" deep x 8.5" high to the finials.
That's it for this time. If you have questions, please email me at
See you soon!