Thursday, January 31, 2013

London's Antiques and Textiles Fair

A few weeks ago I learned about London's Decorative Antiques and Textiles Fair from Karin at La Pouyette. Fortunately, the event coincided with my trip to England last week and Karin emailed me an invitation. The show is known to be an excellent resource of painted Swedish and Gustavian furniture. Held in Battersea Park, the location is easy to access as shuttle service is provided from Sloane Square. Following are a few favorite sightings.

This Swedish blue painted Bureau Bookcase, circa 1770, from The Blanchard Collective.

Dealers Bie Baert, based in Belgium, and Odette Welvaars, based in The Netherlands, told me they were exhibiting at the fair for the first time. They shared a stunning booth that had several outstanding pieces including these 18th-century green Swedish chairs.

The French Country Living Antiques space was a feast for the eyes.

Several things from Victoria Harvey caught my eye: this Swedish painted desk,

This set of chairs and the huge bookcase behind them,

 And this serpentine chest of drawers with a gorgeous patina.

One of my favorite exhibiting shops was Maison Artefact. The long narrow, dining table in the center was fabulous. (Antique rocking horses were plentiful, I saw several examples throughout the fair.)

This secretary might have been my favorite piece in the booth.

Another standout exhibitor was Appley Hoare Antiques.

They had loads of beautiful, antique glass.

I loved these 20th-century Swedish dining chairs.

And I am becoming obsessed with deep-dyed monogrammed linens.

I think they would be gorgeous combined with these 19th-century French Gien plates (a set of 78!) on the Maison Artefact table.

A few things that figured prominently in several booths: intaglios - these from Julian Carr Linford who has a shop in Portobello Road,

Herbaria - this extensive folio from Gaby van Schagen who is based in The Netherlands,

And green enamel, industrial pendant lights - these from Fontaine are circa 1930.

Katharine Pole had some of the most beautiful antique textiles I have seen. She had a few pillows on display and stacks of beautiful pieces ready for one's own creations.

And Puckhaber Decorative Antiques had the most beautiful collection of French and Italian chairs. This circa 1820 Empire, not quite matched pair, have been scraped to their original paint.

The finish on these Italian, circa 1880 arm chairs is original.

I think this 19th-century French Empire style chair upholstered in grey linen is perfection.

Another fabulous booth was Martin D. Johnson Antiques. While its offerings were somewhat similar to my other favorites, it stood out with a fresh, youthful feeling.

A charming feature of the fair is that it is 'dog friendly.' I saw a number of visitors with dogs in tow and several exhibitors had dogs, of all sizes, in their booths - usually curled up on a priceless looking chair.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Les Sardines London

I have been in London for the last few days visiting my sister and yesterday had the great pleasure of meeting a new friend.

A few months ago I was searching the internet for some grey candles made in Sweden and was led a lovely shop, Les Sardines, that not only had exactly what I was looking for, but was absolutely filled with beautiful things.

The shop was in London so I sent an email enquiry to ask if the candles could be shipped to the US, and then clicked on the Pinterest button in the sidebar to have a look at the shop owner's boards because I could tell we shared similar taste.

Well, it was no surprise when I was led to someone I knew well from Pinterest, Leopoldina Haynes. If you are not already following Leo, you must and you will find her on Pinterest here.

After connecting by email we made plans to meet during my next trip to England, and yesterday my sister and I went to meet Leo and visit Les Sardines in person. The shop is divine and Leo could not have been lovelier.

Here are the candles that serendipitously brought us together.

The shop carries furniture, soft goods, table top and decorative items and, of course, the most beautiful candles.

Here is the absolutely darling Leopoldina and her partner at Les Sardines, Miguel.

The charming storefront.

Les Sardines is located in Abbeville Village at 63 Abbeville Road, London SW4 9JW. If you find yourself in London, stop in, and Leo does ship to the US so visit the website here.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Like most people engaged in creative fields, I 'wear many hats.' My work is varied and I certainly see that as a positive. In addition to interior decorating, I have done window displays for a retail shop and home styling for real estate photography. Recently I had the pleasure of working on one such job with my husband and the brilliant interiors photographer Timothy Peters at a very interesting property near Woodstock, Vermont. I wanted to share some photos of it here because it is such a cool house.

The exterior has an Eastern simplicity that belies what the interior holds.

The interior is dramatic. Two of my favorite features are the very high ceilings which give the house an incredible sense of spaciousness,

And the vast expanses of windows which are all unadorned. The house has unimpeded views of the surrounding landscape from every angle.

The jewel in the kitchen is a cobalt blue Lacanche range with a pretty backsplash of Dutch Delft tiles.

Also, it is rare for me when on these jobs to feel such an affinity for the home owner's decorating style. I loved the liberal use of chandeliers and oversize mirrors throughout the house. It has a very European feeling.

And those urns are fairly stunning.

Something else I loved about this is one story. I am a fan of single-level living, and always have been. The two apartments I have inhabited remain favorite spaces. I wonder what that says about me?

The acreage features a large barn and I had to include this beautiful photo that Tim - who is truly an artist - took of a small section of it. The day we shot these photos the temperature was below zero. You can see the cold in the glass panes.

For more photos and information about the house (for those of you looking for the perfect Vermont escape) visit the property website.

And I will leave you with a funny story in the theme of 'wearing many hats' - a few years ago I was moving into an office in a small building in town that housed mostly mental health practitioners and massage therapists. My door was open as a technician from the phone company was there installing the phone and fax lines, and my 'neighbor' stopped by to welcome me to the building. She asked if I was a psychiatrist and I said, "No, I am a decorator." From the floor the phone technician piped up, "Isn't that the same thing?"

Monday, January 14, 2013

Try This At Home

Last week my friend Marsha at the dreamy lifestyle and fashion blog Splenderosa posted a photo of one of my favorite bedrooms of all time. We were both coming off bad colds and were thinking of comfort, and while we love the tranquil feeling of this room, agreed that for it to be perfect we would need to change the bedside tables and lamps - these were too small to be practical for us. Marsha said, let's do it...let's post what we'd substitute if this was our own.

I love a little fantasy decorating so I was all over it. I need to have some storage in my night table, preferably drawers, but I don't like anything big beside the bed. As for lighting, I prefer a 'swing-arm' style wall fixture mounted next to the headboard because I read in bed and don't like to have too much on the surface of my bedside table. And, I am very particular about light levels so the light output needs to be adjustable with a dimmer switch. Here is what I would swap in.

Available in over a dozen finishes, the Bedside Table with Three Drawers from Chelsea Textiles provides ample storage in a compact size, 20" wide by 15" deep.

Circa Lighting is always my first stop for light fixtures. I love the quatrefoil detail on the Griffin Swing Arm  lamp by Suzanne Kasler for Circa. Available in two finishes, this fixture also comes standard with the essential dimmer.

While it was fun to think of customizing the room to my particular needs, Marsha suggested expanding on the idea and recreating the rest of the room which we agreed was divine. Yes! And as Marsha has a background in fashion, jewelry design and wardrobe styling, why not imagine wearing the cozy feeling of this room? Remember Domino magazine's monthly feature Turn This Outfit into a Room? Well, Marsha is turning this room into an outfit. Have a look at my picks for a perfect sanctuary below and then head over to Splenderosa to see Marsha's style and creativity at work.

I should begin by saying I take sleep very seriously. I believe it is as important a part of nurturing one's health as nutritious food and exercise, and I make a big effort to ensure the whole family gets enough quality sleep.

So let's start with the wall color. While I am nursing a crush on white rooms at the moment, I need something more serene in my bedroom than stark white. Currently my room is Benjamin Moore's pale grey Athena. Having just read a post on Remodelista entitled 10 Secrets for a Better Night's Sleep, I am interested in trying one of their recommended colors, Ben Moore's French Canvas. 

On to the bed....I like the simple, clean lines of the upholstered base in the Belgian Slipcovered Parsons Headboard and Bed Skirt from Restoration Hardware.

Of the many fabrics available to choose from, I would order the slipcover in 'sand' Belgian linen.

I am a devotee the Italian Linen Plain-Sewn Bedding from Cuddledown. As you might recall from this previous post, it is one of the 10 Things I Can't Live Without - sheets in white, duvet cover in flax. 

As for the duvet, I recommend Cuddledown's 800 Fill Power Sateen Down Comforter. I use the 'level 2' because we keep our room very cold at night (the thermostat is set at 58°) as I believe one sleeps better in a cold room. And, I have to have the window open - how wide depends on the outside temp. The company's website has a formula to help you choose the ideal weight comforter based on the nighttime temperature range of your bedroom and how your body responds to it. I promise you will never sleep better.

New additions...the original photo is actually from one of my favorite shops in the UK, The White Company. My sister, who lives in London, introduced me their luxurious bedding and bath towels a few years ago. I think the Loire Throw and Pillows would add some nice texture to the linen bed.

Or, the Chunky Hand Knit Throw if you want a little color contrast.

I love mirrors - the bigger, the better - and I saw this beauty at Tone on Tone during my visit to the DC area last year. I am not sure if it is still available - if not, Loi undoubtedly has something equally spectacular.

While we are shopping at Tone on Tone, in the mirror is reflected a pretty armoire. I love this 19th-century, Swedish Gustavian piece that Loi recently added to the shop. 

On the floor...I'd put one of these wool flokatis from World Market on either side of the bed. I can't imagine anything would feel better underfoot. 

Lastly, the chandelier...I like the shape of the French empire-style chandelier pictured in the rafters and I imagine the crystals cast a lovely glow. I have a history of splurging on light fixtures and that for my dream bedroom is no exception. This example is from antiques dealer Jean-Marc Fray and is featured on their website here

Thank you, Marsha, for suggesting this fun idea. If you haven't yet visited Splenderosa, head over now. You will want to see the wonderful giveaway Marsha has included for one lucky reader.