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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Staircase Fascination

What is it with staircases?  And why am I so addicted to them as we are looking at old houses?

Beautiful staircases have always fascinated me and I thought I’d share some of the ones we’ve seen lately in visiting and looking at old houses for our future move.  There are so many different configurations of them and it’s amazing how well they fit architecturally. Here are some interesting styles and layouts:

This one is very elaborate and grand. I love how it floats and its wide steps.  I also love the window on the first landing.




This one is much more compact and close to the front door.


This one is a fantastic circular style.





This Victorian example has windows going up the stairs but the steps a little narrow.




I think this is my favorite set of all: The wide U-shape with the large landing and window.


My husband checking it out.  Wouldn’t it be gorgeous updated? Yes, the chair lift would have to go!


It has such a solid quality to it.








Okay can you tell I really like this one!!!

A portion of my staircase at La Belle Époque. 


Older staircases have such character.  I keep thinking of going to one-story for convenience, but I just love interesting staircases.  They can be such grand statements in a house. What style is your favorite? 



P.S. Don’t know why I sometimes associate staircases in old homes with ghosts and scary things…I guess it’s appropriate at Halloween!  Maybe it’s the haunted house shows that have been playing on HGTV this week.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Smidgen of Halloween

I don’t decorate much for Halloween anymore.  I did when my children were little.  I actually used to go “all out”.  But now, I tend to focus more on Fall time.

I like to find interesting vintage pieces to use when I decide to sprinkle some Halloween fun around the house.


I have a very special “one-of-a-kind” lighted witch that my mother made in the late 1970s.  It has a switch on the back with a nite lite inside that lights up the pumpkin’s face.


Do any of you remember the ceramic “craze” in the 1970s?  A friend of ours had a kiln and we would take ceramic classes and paint lots of decorative items.  We even had a Christmas tree full of hand-painted ceramic ornaments.  My mom and I had so much fun doing this together.  We have since gotten rid of most of these items.  But I’ve always hung on to this witch.  My mom did a wonderful job painting her.


I found this charming little Jack-0-lantern a few years ago at an antique store.  I say charming because he’s not scary at all.


It’s a vintage planter or candy dish from the Haeger Pottery Company.


Isn’t it fun finding neat little holiday items like this?


The older I get I’m less and less excited about holiday items at the big box stores and more interested in simple vintage.  I’ve also found that I tend to throw away and get tired of what I call cheap, junkier type holiday items that I used to get sucked into buying.

I don’t know…maybe I’m an old fogey.






Here’s to good vintage and all the little ghosts and goblins that will be ringing our doorbells this week in search of treats!



Saturday, October 26, 2013

French Friday (on Saturday!) and Some Bits and Pieces

When I was in Deauville, France last month with my lovely tour group, I mentioned to them that Deauville was a sister city to Lexington , KY.  And for the record, here’s proof!!!


As you can see Lexington has a few other sister cities!  I snapped this photo from the car as we were driving down Main Street.  Deauville and Lexington are not only similar in size and population, but both offer world class horse racing.  I love that Kentucky has a French connection.  Not to mention we have a Paris, KY and Versailles, KY and the symbol of Louisville is the fleur-de-lis.

As for bits and pieces this week, look what arrived in the mail today.


These awesome little grain sack stockings are by the lovely Ann Drake from On Sutton Place.  She creates the most wonderful things which you can find in her Etsy shop HERE.


I’m getting a “jump” on Christmas this year.  I’m not decorating now, just getting an early start to planning the holiday décor.  Look for these beauties in December.


Does this look familiar to any of you?


I’ve been cleaning out old family VHS videos. Seems funny to me to say “old” videos since I remember when they were first introduced! Back then we didn’t think the VHS technology would be outdated so soon.  Boy, we’ve come a long way, baby!


Problem is what to do with them?  They are very bulky in storage and you can’t store them in a hot attic because the film/tape with eventually ruin.  I’ve had several videos in the past transferred to DVD but that can get expensive.  These are precious family memories mostly of my children.  What to do, what to do?  I guess I’ll just hang on to them with a lone VCR to play them on.  Of course, I’m sure there’ll come a time when you won’t be able to use a VCR on the current technology.

Any ideas?  What are you guys doing with you VHS videos?  I just boxed up 2 boxes of children’s video movies i.e. Disney and such…



Monday, October 21, 2013

Finding Bits of French Country in Kentucky

As we continue searching for houses for our future move, I am definitely drawn to those whose character is a nod to French style architecture.  Surprisingly, there are many French Eclectic style houses in Kentucky.  Here are a few we’ve had the opportunity to look at and each has it’s own certain charm.

This one has to be my favorite.  Built in the 1940s, she is personality plus!  The eyebrow arches make her come alive.


Love the façade and the copper guttering.


Not so much French on the inside, but she boasts a marvelous round staircase.




The outside is fabulous with a beautiful garden area.








This house also has a French flair to it.  It used to be a ranch style but was re-built a few years ago.


Love the shutters and the French gray color.


Also originally built in the 1940s it has the most amazing millwork.


This home also has a gorgeous garden area in back, too.




And finally, this one is probably more of an English cottage with some Federal style, but it has several French features rolled into one package.  Definitely an eclectic house full of charm.


This is a nice example of a Kentucky river stone house built in the 1940s by a well-known mid-century architect.  First of all, everything in this house is outdated and it probably needs a total gut job. But my oh my would she be gorgeous if fixed up!

Notice the French style rounded copper top dormers!


It has a nice wrought iron gate with a view to a private country club.

120 Holiday Rd, Lexington, KY 40502

It even has an old greenhouse.


Original marble floor in the foyer.




It’ll be  fun to see what happens in the next couple years and what house we will end up with.  I’m ready for this new adventure.

This downsizing thing will be interesting for sure!

Two choices still remain:  1. build a new Country French Jack Arnold home or 2. buy old and renovate/restore.

What do you think of these existing houses?  They’re definitely old character homes.  Am I cut out for one of these?



Friday, October 11, 2013

Weekly Recap and French Friday

As you already know, I have an easy weekly recap because I haven’t posted since last Friday’s recap!!!
That’s because I’ve been in Lexington again this week moving out of our small city golf course home that we just sold!  I’ll spare you photos of all the boxes and packing.  Whew! Most of the furnishings from here we put in storage because I didn’t want to drag it back to Pikeville.  More on that later.
Let’s move on to French Friday.
A highlight for me when visiting France is going to the fresh markets.  Oh, I wish we had markets like these!
The French still buy most of their food fresh…daily and weekly…and don’t need lots of cupboard space and pantries for processed boxed and canned foods. Nor do they freeze a lot.
And with produce like this why would you?
Markets are considered staples…not special events like our pop-up farmer’s markets in the summer.
You can get just about anything at the market including clothing, accessories, soaps, local products, etc.  but I tend to only take photos of the fresh food, flowers, and cheese!


I love the market in Deauville and purchased a couple items there including a beautiful orange cashmere throw for only 30 euros which I’ll show you later.  I also picked up a lovely navy shawl that I have already worn many times.


I would love to have been able to bring these bright little pumpkins home with me for fall décor.  I adore their deep orange hue.
If I had markets like these where I live, I might even be inspired to cook more….maybe!
Come back next week for the continuing story of our Brocanting Tour and the saga of our house hunting in Lexington as we struggle with deciding to sell our Pikeville dream home.
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