Monday, September 30, 2013

Linking up to The Pink Pagoda's Blue and White Bash

Who doesn't love the combination of blue and white, or a party for that matter? Thanks to our lovely hostess, Jennifer of The Pink Pagoda, for organizing this get-together to share some favorite blue and white images.

Here are a few of my current inspirations:

Lars Sjöberg in Classic Swedish Interiors

photograph 'Lars' Table' by Miguel Flores-Vianna

This post is is linked to Jennifer's Blue and White Bash - head to the Pink Pagoda for more.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Let Me Introduce You: Jocie Sinauer and Red Chair on Warren

And now the part about shopping in Hudson. As I have said, Hudson is a hot design destination (since my last post I have been back once more to pick up a chair) and there is truly something for everyone. Fine antiques, mid-century modern pieces, vintage wares and unusual curiosities - Hudson's main street shops have it all. My personal favorite is Red Chair on Warren.

With 17 years in the business, owner Jocie Sinauer's trained eye and abundant creativity have made Red Chair a standout in this decorator's mecca. On regular trips to Europe, Jocie brings home a selection of (mostly) Belgian and French furniture, accessories and linens. Regularly updated inventory and ever changing displays insure the shop always feels fresh and offers up new treasures.

A lovely courtyard behind the shop displays outdoor furniture and garden accessories.

Red Chair on Warren is located at 606 Warren Street in Hudson, New York. Find it on Facebook and visit the website for detailed information. Many shops in Hudson are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so late in the week or over the weekend are the best times to visit.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Garden at Blithewood

So, let me tell you about Hudson, New York...Mr. H. and I visited last summer to tour Olana and (he would say) so I could explore the shops in this upstate town that attracts a lot of well-known designers from the city. Following the familiar saga of many early American port towns (prosperity-decline-gentrification,) Hudson has become a chic locale with a gritty past. Today, I can best describe it like this: New Orleans on the Hudson River. It has great architecture, fabulous restaurants and shops, and it is sited in a region rich in historic homes and gardens. I spent part of my spontaneous second visit touring and part of it shopping. First the touring, next week the shopping.

A few miles south of town in Annandale-on-Hudson is Blithewood, an estate designed for a North Carolina businessman and his family in the 1830's by landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing and architect Alexander Jackson Davis. Enjoying an active partnership in the Hudson Valley during the 19th century, Downing and Davis were considered pioneers of a new American style of 'picturesque' landscape design and architecture. Davis' original Gothic-style house burned and was replaced by the property's second owner with a Beaux-Arts style manor designed by Francis Hoppin, an alumnus of the Gilded Age architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White. Blithewood is now part of the Bard College campus and houses the Levy Center for Economics.

Blithewood's second owner also added a classical Italianate garden to Downing's Romantic-style landscape of pastoral grounds and sweeping vistas. The backdrop of the Hudson River and Catskill Mountains is absolutely stunning.

The morning I visited the grounds were unoccupied and I spent a magical hour immersed in what felt like a secret garden. For information visit the website of Bard's Landscape and Arboretum Program. There are several gardens on the campus worth seeing.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Brimfield Debrief

I left for Brimfield late Wednesday afternoon with an ambitious plan to cover as many fields as possible in the following 48 hours. My overnight bag contained a layering wardrobe to accommodate changes in temperature and my Wellies and a pair of thick socks were stashed in the car in case of rain. I had cash in several denominations in a small backpack which left my hands free to carry the XL-size L.L. Bean canvas tote that would hold my purchases. Getting an early start Thursday morning I scored a convenient parking place in 'The Meadows' and started off, a picture of the model Brimfield shopper.

The trencher full of glass fishing net floats is going to our cottage in Rhode Island.

There was, however, one thing standing in the way of this mission being carried out to its grand finale (and preventing me from feeling any excitement at all) and that was my hastily and poorly chosen hotel. As Thursday wore on, I felt an ever increasing sense of dread at the prospect of returning to the dismal local where I'd spent the night before in Sturbridge.

This yardage from my favorite dealer of vintage European textiles will make new cushions for the kitchen chairs.

Early afternoon, with a few purchases in the back of the wagon, I gave in to despair and headed down Route 20 with a new mission - to get (the hell!) out of town. The hotel let me off with an early check-out fee and feeling total relief I got back on the Mass Turnpike unsure of my next move. Had Mr. H not called about 15 minutes later I would have gone home in defeat, but he had a fabulous idea and I pulled over for gas, got on the phone, booked a room in a newly-opened hotel in Hudson, New York, and headed back to the town that charmed me during our visit in July. I'll share more on Hudson later this month but I'll tell you now the next 24 hours were divine.

Trying some Black Forest chic at Church Street.

So, my advice for anyone planning a trip to Brimfield in May - don't skimp on the hotel. Pay more and have fun because it is definitely worth the trip - but only if you do it right and are not uncomfortable. There is a lot to see and you are almost guaranteed to find what you are looking for. (A small disclaimer - there is also a lot of stuff you might wish you had never seen so wear good walking shoes.) I will be going back in the Spring with Mr. H who has agreed to come along and chose our hotel. He's never steered me wrong.

I arrived home feeling revived and freshly inspired, and found a pleasant surprise was awaiting me in the mail...the beautiful September issue of Romantic Homes featuring a little spread on Henhurst Interiors.