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!


  1. Hello, I love everything here, but especially the pitcher collection. We collect these in a small way, but most of mine are "put away" and I haven't seen them in years. The small iron planters are also exquisite.

    1. Jim, I love to use our pitchers for flowers, though they were originally made for serving water, juice, etc. Hope to see your collection soon.

  2. Replies
    1. Patty - Hope you and MC had a fabulous summer! Will catch up with you :)

  3. Wonderful ob·jet d'art!! franki

  4. Love the pitchers, Loi, and of course, the topiaries! We always get excited when we see your name pop up in our email as your posts are such a treat. Have a wonderful holiday weekend!
    C + C

    1. Thanks, ladies! Hope you had a terrific summer. Happy fall ahead :)

  5. Welcome your South of Maine home that is! You find the most beautiful and unique things! I know someone who will gasp when they see that water pitcher! Always such a treat to see your beautiful post....Have a great Holiday weekend Loi!!!

    1. Awww, thanks friend :) Good luck with your house listing. It will photograph beautifully!

  6. Loi, every vignette is sheer delight. I so want to get some of those topiaries and try my hand at growing them. Just need to find a source. The vintage garden pieces are charming. I'd love to have those squirrels for my own garden. Better than the real ones who destroy things. The collection of pitchers is equally as charming. Each one speaks to me.

    1. Thanks so much! When it comes to growing a healthy and lush myrtle topiary, give it lots of bright light, water and trimming. Good luck, Sarah.

  7. Stunning, all of it, and beautifully displayed. My favorite is the silver plated pitcher - wow!

    1. Thanks, Amy! That pitcher would look amazing with Aesthetic Movement transferware china.

  8. Good morning dear Loi! You know, I saw a table just like the one you are featuring for your cast animals (LOVE THEM!) here in an antique store. For being in Minnesota, you'd think you'd run into a lot of Scandinavian antiques, but that's not the case. I wish I would have jumped on that purchase; the table was REAL Scandinavian with that perfect bluish/gray patina. The next day when I went back, it was gone.

    I totally believe in bringing in the outside to the interior. Every season for me is all about natural garden elements, (not imitation) because nature emits a peaceful spirit into the home. Well done my dear. So good to see you blogging!

    1. Merci Anita :) I was just thinking about Swedish antiques in Minnesota. That is surprising! Enjoy your new school year. Cannot believe summer is over

  9. I'm enchanted. With chalky loveliness. With symmetry that soothes. With Scandinavian sensibility so pure and timeless. With tone on tone beauty that inspires me to tidy up things at home here for a bit more order. To keep my eyes open for objects that have lived rich lives and will endure when I am gone. Peace to you right where you are, Loi. xox

    1. Yes for your new home! Hope you are well my friend. Happy Labor Day weekend xo

  10. Loi I love that long hair statue it looks just like my REMY, Would you email his price?

  11. Loi,
    I always enjoy seeing your accessory finds. The long haired cat reminds me of Oliver, our first cat as a married couple. He was Himalayan. Very pretty.

  12. Loi, your garden antiques are divine. I'm especially in love with the garden statues. Rare, and not easy to obtain these days. Yours are the best of the best, fantastic design and patina. Would love to join Shirley to visit your shop one day, she described it to me in great detail and with such enthusiasm and love!

  13. Welcome home! I have loved following along on your Instagram while you have been in Maine. I love Maine, it reminds me of Scotland where I dream of moving someday.

    Your shop looks fabulous, as always. The garden sculptures are beautiful and whimsical. And the two paintings, I love them both.

    I hope that when you mentioned that you had to turn your heat on the last few days you were not referring to DC! It is so hot down here I hate to say it but I am longing for cooler weather. I do not want to say that because I do not want to be curse by Mother Nature.

    Have a safe and happy weekend Loi. Welcome home.

    P.S. How are your pups?

  14. Loi, your shop is so lovely I can just imagine how lovely it really is in person. Love all your new garden friends and the pitchers with nature motifs are just beautiful. Always a pleasure to see a post from YOU!!!

  15. So many beautiful things, Loi! I'd love to make it back to the shop one of these days. Hoping you and Tom had a great summer! xo

  16. Just beautiful!!! Some day I hope to visit your store in person!

  17. It is always so fun to admire the beautiful wares in your shop from afar. One day I will visit! I hope you and Tom has a lovely summer in Maine, one of my favorite places!!

  18. Is the long-haired cat garden statue in this post from August by any chance still for sale? I'm VERY interested. Thank you

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Many thanks for your visit! If you have a question, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer. Loi