Sunday, January 30, 2011
The latest edition of Veranda magazine (Jan/Feb 2011) was just as exciting as the last that I shared in a previous post. Whilst I devoured the special on Swedish inspired interiors in the previous issue, this one had my senses swimming with the feature on the most amazing alfresco Chinoiserie dinner settings, fittingly titled "Tables of Fancy". Imagine arriving at the above pagodas for dinner? In California, this is, not China! The magical setting is arranged by Hutton Wilkinson, friend and protege of the late flamboyant interior designer Tony Duquette. Little figurines of animals (including gold rats!) and Chinese men, coral and Venetian goblets are all placed upon the tables with panache. An imaginative host creates a whimsical evening for guests to remember!
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
When I saw these lovely Swedish painted chairs in the latest Home Beautiful magazine (February) I was sold. Well, the magazine was, actually. The home featured (pages 84 to 93) belongs to an Orrefors glass designer in southern Sweden. I adore Swedish interiors, particularly the use of worn painted furniture such as the above mix of chairs to the Gustavian couch below. Most of this interior is white, with splashes of blue. The Gustavian couch is wonderful and is a highlight in the loungeroom. We will be on the hunt for one or two of these on our next buying trip (wish us luck!). The owner made the cushions herself including hand-printing the fabric. I am not sure if I love the carpet, but it is bold, I guess. However I think an all-white interior like this is bold in itself. What a roomy bathroom! The floor is stencilled concrete. At first glance it appears to be tiles.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
This stone cherub figure will add a touch of whimsy to the final vegetable garden. Here is my collection of antique gardening tools including a garden line, a dibber (very useful for putting holes in ground before planting seedlings) a daisy weeder (my favourite tool) a hand fork and trowel, a yard broom, a potato digger (about to be put to use when my pinkeye potatoes are ready) a spade and a garden fork. I love D-end handles, like the one on the spade.
A few old decorative urns, awaiting final placement when the vegetable garden is completed (this may be a year or two away). In the mean time they look decorative and hold a lemon tree and a bay tree.
I have two of these Victorian wire work planters which I luckily found in one of my favourite stores, The Vintage Rose in Launceston, Tasmania. I have various herbs planted in them.
This is a rare English rhubarb forcer which I received for Christmas one year. It is about to be put to use when I plant my rhubarb.
This is one of our latest projects which started this weekend. These are French garden tiles which I bought recently from our store (see previous post). In this garden bed we have an espalier lemon tree against the fence and plan to plant rhubarb (which I have in pots at the moment).
Harvested beetroot in an old English garden trug. We have almost sold out of these in the store but plan to find more on our next buying trip.
I plan to espalier this fig tree which is also currently in a pot. I would love to know if anyone has done this to a fig tree or can see a reason I shouldn't try it?
This poor artichoke is also in a pot! He is awaiting his own garden bed as I believe artichokes can take up a lot of room...
Thursday, January 20, 2011
We have just had this arm chair upholstered in a neutral linen slip cover. The chair itself dates to around c.1900 and has lovely little porcelain castors. I particularly like the small proportions and also the "wings". The ties on the back make for easy removal. Linen arm chairs can fit into any setting. In fact, I would go so far as to say a nice looking arm chair can really make a room. These are rooms by the iconic designer Axel Vervoordt, from whom I take a lot of inspiration. I like the fact that he doesn't mind mismatched chairs and sofas. His rooms are very earthy and textural.
And speaking of earthy and textural, check out this early rustic trestle table that came into the store this week. It comes apart into three pieces which is probably a good thing as each piece is very, very heavy. The top is thick and has loads of character, even holes in places. This is definitely one of my favourite pieces at the moment...
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Both the swan and pigeon were originally used as decoys but now they make wonderfully unique display pieces. The swan gives off peaceful vibes.
These feather hats date from the mid 19th century. I have put one of them on an old wooden spool, an idea from a customer during the week who bought a spool to do just that.
This mannequin is an amazing shape, the waist is so small! The shapes dates it to the Victorian period when corsets were used to create such a small waist. It measures a mere 20 inches! It has been later decorated with decoupage.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Decadent indeed! I love this dining room with the mix of opulance (crystal chandelier, French gilt mirror) and natural textures (linen covered chairs, pewter plates and washed timber table). Alex MacArthur, antique dealer based in the south of the UK, certainly knows how to put a room together...
The cupboard and the butcher's block to the left has heaps of character and warmth. Mixed this time with an industrial light fitting and stools. I could eat breakfast in this room every morning, no worries.
The collection of silver frames make an interesting display. She also uses found objects (antlers, shells) to decorate. My kind of decorator!
Another wonderful dining room with a gorgeous chandelier. I bought a chandelier on our last buying trip for our dining room. It is still in boxes...not for long though, these rooms have inspired me to unwrap each lustre and clean it until it sparkles. The mirror is wonderful too, as is the early table...sigh.
What a comfortable lounge room! The baker's stand is very, very similar to the baker's stand we have in store at the moment. I love to think of the stories a Parisian baker's stand could tell...all the quick pleasantries and exchanges between boulanger and client. In this room the baker's stand is a great feature against the wall, but also quite useful holding stacks of magazines. The coffee table appears to be a vintage gym apparatus. Another chandelier completes the room. All images from Alex MacArthur. Her store is in Brighton in the south of England and her nearby home doubles as a private furniture showroom where everything is for sale! If I get a chance on our next buying trip I will have to check it out. And report back.
Friday, January 7, 2011
With the honour of hosting a baby shower next week, I decided to be organised and do a little "trial" cooking. Firstly, cupcakes are a must at a baby shower. We experimented with colours and piping. The vintage glass cake stand above is Mum's which I have borrowed (I am not wanting to give it up though!). I have also found a few cake stands at the store which I will use on the day. We also made some little bite sized raspberry and frangipane tarts.
These little custard meringues with lemon curd filling are gorgeous...they taste as good as they look! A wonderful friend helping me to cook today found the recipe for these meringues.
We were going to buy the lemon curd but we decided to make it ourselves and were surprised how easy (any delicious!) it was. We made some extra because it keeps in a sterilised jar for up to two weeks.
The custard flavoured meringues were piped onto trays before being cooked in a slow oven.
I have started getting together vintage cake stands and china cups and saucers for the day. And we have started planning the decorations as well...
Sunday, January 2, 2011
The spool at the back is the largest we have ever had. It would hold a lot of string...
These spools are smaller and have a great patina.
We have just cleaned and put out a lovely collection of shoe lasts in the form of high heels, titled "Frenchy". They were originally made in America. The brass scissors are new in as well, but we may just keep these to use...
This birdcage is a wonderful colour and has a domed shaped top. It is on our front table in between some Spanish oil pots.
This hat block is called a "puzzle" hat block, it comes apart into four pieces.
These are some hat blocks on original stands. I promised in an earlier post that I would photograph these. They are all different in terms of colour, shape and patina. It is a very busy day here in the shop today, so I must get back to work!