Thursday, June 28, 2012

London Jubilee

I am recently home from a trip to England where the sense of merriment surrounding the Queen's recent Jubilee festivities is still very much in the air. (Union Jack chair and table from Sue Walker in Walton Street, London.)

I stayed with my sister Irene whose renovations to her new flat I wrote about in February. If you missed it, here is the original post: London Calling, and here are some 'before' and 'after' photos.

The kitchen before:

And after - designed by Plain English with the Long House door style and painted Farrow and Ball All White.

The gingham shade fabric is from Chelsea Textiles.

The cushion for the built-in bench is due any day. Covered in a sage ticking stripe from Romo it will coordinate with the Chelsea Textiles pillows we bought during the winter sale at their London shop.

The Oka Stola table and Camargue chairs.

The lantern was found at Patrick Jefferson, an antiques dealer whose shop is at 69 Pimlico Road.

The living room before:

And after - the white sofa and chairs, sent over from the US, I had made by Charles Stewart and covered in a Kravet fabric. The new fireplace mantle is from Aro Marble and the rug is from Oka.

The sofa under the television is from Pottery Barn, a few years old, but revamped with a new slipcover I brought over in my suitcase. Irene has a PhD in Art History and the shelves were built to accomodate her extensive collection of books. The walls are painted Paris Grey from Zoffany paints (which may or may not yet be available in the states) and the wall behind the bookshelves is painted Farrow and Ball Eating Room Red.

The curtain fabric is a Threads linen we selected last winter at the Chelsea Harbour Design Center with braid by George Spencer Designs .

Travelling with me was my older daughter, Sophie. (The younger one, Serena, was on a trip to Paris with her French class.)

One of our outings was to Chiswick House which is a stunning neo-Palladian villa completed in 1729.

Designed and built by the 3rd Earl of Burlington, the villa was inspired by his 'grand tours' of Italy.

By the 1770's Chiswick had passed to the 5th Duke of Devonshire whose wife, Georgiana, was a leader of fashion and a political activist. She referred to her home at Chiswick House as ‘my earthly paradise' and the gardens are just that.

The property features a conservatory which houses what is believed to be the oldest collection of camellias in England. Completed in 1813, it was at the time the longest ever built (302ft.)

The semi-circular Italian garden was designed by Lewis Kennedy and laid out in 1812.

Nestled throughout the grounds are several significant statues and garden elements. The Doric column in the rose garden.

A gateway designed by Inigo Jones in 1612, acquired by the 3rd Earl and moved to the property in 1738 when the house where it originallly stood was being demolished.

I'll leave you with a photo of my adorable little sister whose 36th birthday we celebrated the night before we left. Almost more impressive to me than her PhD is the way she zips around London in her Mini.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sweet Tea and Finger Sandwiches

Yesterday we hosted a graduation brunch for the girls in my daughter Serena's eighth grade class. We were lucky to have it coincide with a beautiful Vermont Spring day and set up the table on the front porch.

The party had a pink theme.

The buffet menu was prepared by my mother-in law.

Nancy has lived in some of the world's great cities - New York, Hong Kong and London - but she began her married life in Richmond, Virginia and her tea sandwiches are the best I have ever had. Her pimento cheese and egg mayonnaise would rival those of the finest Southern hostess.

My contribution was Sweet Tea inspired by some I sampled at Husk in Charleston during our April visit.

But the pink lemonade was much more popular with the girls.

Serena and a friend made the cupcakes.

Congratulations to my girl. It's hard for me to believe she is headed to high school in the fall.

Wishing everyone a wonderful and relaxing weekend!

Friday, June 8, 2012


One additional stop I made on Loi's recommendation while reacquainting myself with my old home town (I went to school and worked in DC, and met Mr. H there!)  was at Oliver Dunn ·  Moss & Co ·  Catherine Roberts - three shops in one, over two levels and in the garden of a lovely, old brick building in Georgetown. The store is a great mix of new, vintage and antique furniture and accessories.

The small garden is absolutely filled with beautiful topiary, planters and vintage garden furniture.

Here a mirror is propped up on the table - a feature I would love to try in a courtyard garden.

Although I was coveting several of the lovely myrtle standards I was worried about their spending a lot of time in the car, so instead I indulged my love of vintage glassware and brought home a set of 8 of these festive goblets.

Oliver Dunn ·  Moss & Co ·  Catherine Roberts, 1657 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007
Telephone: 202-338-7410.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Flying The Coop - Part 3

From Virginia I drove into Washington, and on the last day of my trip had the enormous pleasure of meeting Loi Thai of Tone on Tone Antiques. For a devotee of Swedish and Gustavian furniture this was like being granted an audience with the Pope. And he gave me breakfast. I can honestly say Loi is the most gracious host.

There is not much more that can be said about Loi and his partner Tom's exquisite house except that photographs can not do it justice. I will add that in spite of its curated perfection and the quality of the antiques that fill it, every room is comfortable and inviting. That is Loi's magic.

One of many beautiful vignettes throughout the house.

A stunning example of Swedish furniture in an enviable collection.

A small sampling Loi's famous topiaries.

Loi and Tom's garden is just my style, manicured and tidy. Tom is the genius behind the expertly trimmed trees.

The 'white garden' in front of the house.

The lavender walk in Loi and Tom's 'blue garden' behind the house.

Loi is also extremely generous with his time and after our visit at the house he accompanied me to Tone on Tone. My only suggestion for Loi is that he keep a supply of smelling salts at the shop because one could easily be overcome by so much beauty in one place.

Loi is an excellent resource on the history of Swedish furniture and the origins of the patina associated with it, and he is more than happy to share his knowledge.

The shop has a fabulous array of accessories and a large selection of beautiful mirrors.

And the furniture is just extraordinary.

While I would have liked to back an 18-wheeler up to the front door and emptied the shop, on this visit only these beautiful accessories came home with me. However, I will definitely be back.

An Italian marble footed urn.

One of a pair of French compotes.

Many thanks to Loi and Tom for opening their home to me and devoting so much of their Saturday to showing me around.