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Monday, February 25, 2013

Shop Openings & A Little Personal Info

I finally did it! 

1-Photos for additional banner3
I opened my Etsy Shop HERE and my Ruby Lane Shop HERE

I’m so excited because it was one of my goals for the New Year.

I also thought I’d take this time to share a few things about myself.  I figured we’ve been friends long enough that you should know….

I’ve been an antiques dealer on and off for about 15 years now.  My love for antiques began when I was in interior design school in college a loooong time ago.  My favorite classes were Historical Interiors and getting to do all the line drawings of period furniture, moldings, and architectural features.

I left the interior design field to become an elementary school teacher.  I taught public school for 10 years, then became an instructional supervisor at the Board of Education.  During this time I was also a Primary Specialist with the State Dept. of Ed and a teacher trainer in classroom technology with IBM.  After leaving the BOE I became a consultant and sold educational software and again did lots and lots of teacher training.  

Blast from the past.  My mom and I in the hall where both of us taught school in the early 90s.  I guess “big” hair was still “in”.


What does all this have to do with interior design and my love for antiques?

During my teaching career, I never once lost my zeal and love for interior design.  I loved arranging and re-arranging my classroom and other teacher’s rooms!!!  It’s truly a passion of mine. I have never been able to “get it out of my system” so to say and I knew one day I’d be able to return to my first career love.  I don’t think I’ve ever read a trade magazine that wasn’t home related.

Throughout all this I always managed to “dabble” in interior design and antiques.
I used to sell lots of antiques on Ebay.
I used to attend lots of antique furniture auctions.
I used to have an antique booth at a large antique mall.

I’ve bought and sold numerous types of collections i.e. flow blue, R.S. Prussia, Victorian furniture, and bisque French & German dolls (I’m also a recovering collector…that’s another story).  I  used to sit up at night doing lots and lots of reading and research on these topics while also attending trade shows related to these things.



I even thought I was losing what I had learned in design school (and since I was no longer a member of ASID) so I took additional classes to get certified with IADA (Interior Arrangement & Design Association) on use what you have decorating and Real Estate Staging.
Taking classes in Washington D.C. below.


Now throw in me being a Francophile.

I knew  all this would eventually lead to something sort of like following your dreams.  And sooner or later, if you stick to your knitting, your number will come up.


So here we are in the present.  This blog was a way for me to meet others with like minds and interests in home décor and to give me a creative outlet in interior design while preparing me for empty nesting.

I never could have imagined where this blog has taken me.  It has given me the opportunity to meet such wonderful people (YOU).  It’s truly been amazing.

So here I am… pretending to be a free lance interior designer, going whole-hog (hillbilly slang) in French antiques, and escorting a wonderful group of ladies to France this fall to share in the same love of antiques and vintage treasure hunting that I have.


I’m not sure where this path will  lead me, but I sure like where it’s going now!

If you get a moment, will you please check out my new shops and let me know what you think? 

You’ll find things like this…



....and this



I’m  encouraged by so many of you who have lovely shops of your own and who balance life with 
such beauty and effortless grace.

I am not an expert in antiques but here I go…again…in a new venue.

Linking up to:

Friday, February 22, 2013

LBE Sunroom Changes And The Plant That’s Gone Wild!

My sunroom area is sort of hard to describe.  It’s actually an amalgamation of the wet bar, the gallery and the master sitting room….so naturally it ended up being a sunroom.  Makes perfect sense, right?
This is the wet bar that’s tucked into a large niche at the end of the gallery.


I recently removed the lovely fake faux greenery from the tops of the cabinets and added a French zinc pot and a wonderful Moet & Chandon champagne presentation basket that I got from Sunday Brocantes.  (I truly am beginning to have an aversion for artificial flowers and arrangements ever since HGTV ranked it in the top 5 of decorating no-no’s)


However…..now that I’m into my “use real or use nothing” phase, I have a plant that’s growing too well!

Let me explain.  I’ve never had a green thumb.  So imagine my delight that the twisted money tree that I got for my husband 3 years ago for Father’s Day is still alive and well!  I also have another one in the foyer. 

I moved the large French biot (olive jar) that was here and now I realize this plant has overgrown its boundaries.  How dare it cover up an antique French sunburst mirror and dwarf the chest of drawers!  We’ve repotted it already and I can see that it won’t be long before it’s gonna have to sit on the floor.  I used to have an artificial arrangement here, too with an oil painting in the niche, but I just wanted something “alive”.  And, that’s just what I got!


This is the before view looking thru the gallery from the kitchen.  You never see the wet bar from this view.  The olive jar is certainly more substantial for the plant and grounds it better.


This is the sunroom part that was supposed to be a master sitting room that we opened up when we were building.  That’s my husband’s favorite chair (next to the family room recliner). He does a lot of reading here. So again, the dark brown bomber leather is a mainstay at my house.


I kind of like to think of this as my side.  I moved a rustic French garden table with stone top under the window.   The woven berber rug came from Wal-Mart.  I couldn’t find a sisal that I could get happy with and the color of this rug blends seamlessly with the travertine tile.  It was a no brainer at $49.


I sit in the bergere to read.


This is where the olive jar ended up.  I got the beveled glass top at Kirkland’s so I could use it as a table.  That’s a pair of antique French garden design engravings hanging above.  I’m still lovin’ the shield shade candlestick lamps.  The other one is in the bedroom.


This is the secondary door to the master bedroom.  


I removed some of my antique lady engravings and hung only the ones with children. They are so charming.



Yes, that’s a faux flower arrangement.  Hey, I’ve gotten rid of most of them just not all of them.  But on the upside, that’s a magnolia tree right outside the window. It’s blooms are beautiful in the summer.


Okay. I bet you’ve not noticed any window treatments because there aren’t any!!! lol
Below are the valances that I had made when we moved in.  I was tired of their formality so I took them down last fall and am still trying to decide what I want to do.  This room gets a lot of sun and I don’t want to cover the windows completely so absolutely no blinds.


I want light, airy, and romantic so I think I’ve narrowed it down to the two choices below:

Country Curtains has these great new “pinch pleat” sheers.  I think it takes sheers to a whole new level and pinch pleat are more custom looking.

Country Curtains Pinch Pleat Sheer 48

Or, Pottery Barn now has these great smocked sheers on-line only!  I don’t think I can go wrong with either choice.  I will go with white either way.

Smocked Drape

Now what to do with that monster plant?  And, what do I put in it’s place?  


This just in:

I was getting ready to hit “publish” when I got an idea for the plant.  What if it were lowered?  I had an antique wood crate that I had painted gray and grabbed that for a base.  What do you think now?  Better? Or will the plant have to go?


Decorating is NEVER done.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I’m Back…Even Key West Has Touches Of Old Paris!

I’m finally home from a magical Valentine’s week in Key West, FL.  I must admit it was hard leaving sunshine and 80 degree weather heading back to 30 degrees and cold. Brrrrrr.

My husband says everything reminds me of France and that I seem to find “Frenchiness”  everywhere I go.  Could that be true?  I’m reminded of Côte d’Azur here in the Keys!


My husband and I love the laid back island living lifestyle with lots of shopping and delicious seafood (my personal favorites are stone crab and lobster & conch bisque).



I always love looking at and studying the architecture of places I visit.  Key West’s historic area known as the Old Town District is very charming indeed.  Those of you who have been know what I mean.


Many of the houses were built by shipbuilder-contractors and cigar manufacturing barons mostly from 1886-1912.  There is a combo of Victorian, Bahamian, and New England traits that create a unique colloquial Key West look.


The basic features include wood-frame construction of one- to two-and-a-half-story structures set on foundation piers about three feet above the ground. Exterior characteristics are peaked roofs, horizontal wood siding, gingerbread trim, pastel shades of paint, side-hinged louvered shutters, and covered porches. balconies, or verandas along the fronts of the houses.


The photo below reminds me of New Orleans.



One thing I really enjoyed was visiting Ernest Hemingway’s house.  You may have heard of him…lol!


It’s a very striking Spanish Colonial style with it’s green plantation shutters and black iron balcony and railing.  The house was built in 1851 and Hemingway lived there from 1931-1940.  It is made entirely of limestone excavated from the property.


O.K. Paris Story:

Ernest and his wife, Pauline lived in Paris in the late 1920’s and collected many antiques while there.  Ernest had a passion for 17th and 18th c. Spanish antiques.  Pauline was particularly fond of European crystal.  As the story goes, the first thing she did when they moved to their Key West house was to remove ALL the ceiling fans to have her European chandelier collection installed.  The local Key West folks thought it was odd and kind of funny since there was no air conditioning and these electric lights emitted lots of heat!  I’m just happy I got to see some great French antiques!!! lol

Below is one of a pair of French bronze and crystal chandys that hang in either end of the living room.  Note also the Victorian and Spanish influences.


This French all crystal beauty hangs in the master bedroom.


Foyer waterfall example from Paris’s La Belle Époque era.


And the fanciest was this Italian example made entirely of Murano glass.


I love this type of design where all of the windows also function as doors to be opened up onto the porches and balconies for breezes and fresh air living.


The master headboard is an antique Spanish gate still having hinges on the backside.



And this was in the garden.  A large Spanish olive jar used as a fountain.  The French versions are very similar.  See…the first thing I thought of when I saw this was a French biot!



For all you cat lovers out there, I was fortunate enough to snap some shots of the “polydactyl” cats that roam the property (or should I say taken over the property!).  They are all descents from Hemingway’s 6-toed cat Snowball.

See his extra toe?


The extra toe actually looks like a thumb!


Here’s another quirky thing about Key West…..the feral roosters!  Yep….they’ve been here a long time and kind of have a free run of the place.


You never know where you might see one!  Again, I couldn’t help but think of France.


And what’s a trip to an island if you don’t run into Jack Sparrow? 


This was a view from our balcony.  Maybe he sailed in on this?



You all know Johnny Depp lived in France quite awhile when he was with Vanessa Paradis?  French thoughts again…I can’t seem to stop myself!

Well, it’s back to blogging and catching up on reading all your wonderful blogs.

I’m glad I’m back.



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