Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year, A New Shipment!

Happy 2013! I can't believe it's been almost a year since I started this blog. I'm incredibly grateful for your visits, feedback and friendship. And, delighted to have met so many of you in person. Many thanks!

Also, thank you to my awesome blog friends and colleagues. For anyone who has wanted to start a blog, do so in 2013. I know you'll find, just as I have, the community to be supportive and generous. A special thanks to three blog friends for their thoughtful gifts and giveaway wins during the holidays. Check out their blogs:

At Tone on Tone, we're ringing in 2013 with a new shipment. Enjoy this preview and little tour of our shop. In with the old, please!    
This pair of Swedish barrel-back chairs have unique leaf tip carved rails and graceful, sweeping lines.  
Below is an original green painted 18th century Mora clock which just arrived. It has a beautiful curvilinear shape and a classic hourglass form typical of Swedish tall case clocks.
A handsome pair of Swedish Empire console tables with very shallow depth - wonderfully and sympathetically restored. Note the Greek key aprons and step-back plinth bases.
A large Swedish or French painted settee with a shaped and high backrest - newly reupholstered. Pillows are in Rogers and Goffigon fabrics.
An 18th century Swedish Rococo table. It's graceful, humble and soulful. The top has been repainted, which is common for antique painted tables due to years of scrubbing and wear.
This pair of Swedish Empire demi lune (half moon) console tables have recessed aprons with inset drawers---not commonly found in Swedish demi lunes. They also have elegant brass escutcheons and sabots.
An exquisitely carved and small Swedish daybed from the Gustavian Period - Ca. 1780-90s. The scalloped skirt is found on 3 sides. The surface has been scraped down to it's early gray color.
A single demi lune console with allover neoclassical details, early 1800s.
It's been a while since I've had a tall Gustavian secretaire. This one has all the hallmarks of that period: reeded doors, diamonds, pilasters and columns. In the niche would have been vellum books.
In the foyer of our shop I've placed this 18th Cen Swedish blue cabinet. With it's shallow depth and drawers for keys, wallets and tchotchkes, don't you think it is perfect in a foyer or hall? 
Here's a fabulous Continental carved marble sink with lion face. There is an original drainage hole at the bottom so it's all ready for installation.
I love mixing painted furniture with natural colored pieces. The elmwood secretaire is Danish. The oak Os de Mouton chairs and cherry table are all French.
 Another French piece is the 18th century architectural "wooden curtains" from a chateau---most likely from the children's play theater. I think it would make a dramatic statement over an upholstered bed.
Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Garden

Hello, friends ~ Welcome to the first day of winter!

Our new shipment finally arrived! I have been swamped unpacking, cataloging and setting each piece. Will share a preview after the dust (the good kind from antiques :-) settles!

Tom and I have also been busy getting ready for house guests and a family dinner for 25 on Christmas Eve!

I needed a mental and physical break, and found some quiet time in the garden. After an hour or so in the cold, it was time to come in. I was reminded how much I love the winter garden: the bones, crisp air, starkness and silvery palette. And, how much I love coming inside from the cold.

To quote Edith Sitwell:
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."

May your home be filled with all the warmth of the holidays! Thank you kindly for visiting my blog this year. I really appreciate your friendship and support! Cheers ~ Loi
 Below the waist-height yew hedge is a busy city intersection at the bottom of the hill. Even without their foliage, the hornbeam trees provide wonderful texture. Holly trees and boxwood add to the overall structure. To see this garden in spring, click here.
 I designed these cedar gates, which are silvering to a gray patina after 2 years. The square spindles are inset on the diagonal. The walkway is crushed pea gravel compacted with sand over poured concrete. I don't care for soft gravel surfaces where the heels sink in.
 The other end of the boxwood garden is a borrowed view of our neighbor's home, which I love and incorporated into our garden vista.
 There are a total of 16 hornbeam trees, and they are sheared 2-3 times a year.
  The above photo was taken 2 weeks ago. Hornbeams tend to hold their foliage well into December. 
 The white border garden. See more here.
 Above: dusty miller. Below: "Silver Anniversary" abelia shrub with a couple lingering blooms.
 The sky cleared to a beautiful blue.
 Reflected in the courtyard's little fountain are "Natchez" crape myrtles. The cinnamon gray-brown bark is particularly striking this time of year.
And here is the blue garden in winter. I do not cut back the Russian sage until spring. It's silvery texture really pops against the evergreen cryptomerias. To see why I call this the blue garden, visit here.
Next to the chimney pot are blue beard (caryopteris) shrubs.
Red twig dogwoods and holly berries keep it festive and fabulous for Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Our Christmas Tree

When I wrote about being the youngest of 12, I was so pleased to receive many comments and questions about my family. And, I was pleasantly surprised to learn some of you are also from large families.

Christmas in a large household was always exciting. My older brothers would take our artificial tree down from the attic, put it together, and string "blinking" lights in dazzling colors. Then, all of us would embellish the tree with silver and gold tinsels, glittery ornaments, satin bows, and a red velvet tree skirt. The pièce de résistance was our gold star tree topper....always a bit wobbly. And of course, we had fake (empty) presents wrapped in festive papers. We didn't exchange presents at Christmas time because we did that on Chinese New Year.

In my first apartment I decided to get a real tree. I decorated it in a simpler way using only vintage ornaments that spoke to me. That is still the style I prefer today, but seeing colorful and lavish trees always bring back fond childhood memories.

Here is our little tree for Christmas 2012 ~ Happy Holidays!

 Before getting the tree, I brought out our antique and vintage ornaments. Most are silver and white, and quite small in size. Above: just as in nature, vintage German pine cones can be found in various sizes.
 Two antique French horns,  probably from Ca. 1890 - 1900.
 An early lyre or wishbone ornament. Which do you think it is?
 Many jingle bells!!
 Definitely one of my favorites: an elusive humming bird.
 Tom and I like to support our neighborhood church - Blessed Sacrament's tree sale.
 We didn't find the right tabletop size, so we got a slightly larger fraser fir, and cut off the bottom. Have you noticed how Christmas trees are so full and robust nowadays? I wanted an airy looking tree so I pruned out one third of the branches.....until the trunk became visible.
 And here is our tree all decorated! In addition to the ornaments, we used 2 strings of white lights, faux snow from Pottery Barn, and a piece of garden burlap for the skirt.
 Making Mocha sit still for a photo with the blue ornament boxes.
 I found this charming antique Victorian painted cast iron tree fence years ago. I love the gates.
 A gift from a good friend, our tree topper is a tin copy of George Washington's dove of peace weather vane at Mount Vernon.
 Here is the weather vane at Mount Vernon - photo from Mount Vernon's website. To read more about weather vanes, go here.
 Interestingly, this dove was featured on a Christmas stamp in 1974.