Shells, Part I

Spring has sprung in Boston and every year at this time, I get impatient and start thinking ahead to summer. This then leads me not to the beach, but to a closet in the back of my house where I keep a good sized collection of shells gathered during visits to my parents in Naples, Florida. Somehow, I'd like display my collection of shells without my living room looking like a beach road shell shop. But, I having trouble getting there.

At this point all I can muster without fear of veering into tackiness is the above ironstone bowl of whelks on a side table. My free time this week will be spent looking for inspiration and if anything promising comes up, I'll be back with more. If you have any ideas please let me know.

It's difficult to resist the call of the hot-glue gun, but I'm holding out.

For now.

A Real Gem

A little jewelry for the ceiling?

"A Mid-Century Belgian Crystal and Brass Sphere Chandelier"

I'm not affiliated with Andrew Spindler Antiques and this is not an advertisement. I just really like everything they offer!

Now this is a Boxwood Terrace....

Garden by Arabella Lennox Boyd on the Rue du Bac in Paris

Although these boxwood would require regular pruning by the gardner. And of course, I have no gardner. Or the house to go with the garden. On the bright side, however, if the relentless rain in New England keeps up, the boxwood on my patio will be as green as these.

Storage before Walk-In Closets and the Stainless Steel Fridge

Whenever I read a book that's set in the 18th or 19th Century I'm always most curious about how the subjects lived day to day. It's fascinating to read about what people wore, what they ate and what the interiors of their homes looked like.
In the days before walk-in closets, people stored their lace ruffles, neck bands and collars in colorful bandboxes.
These examples of 19th Century bandboxes can be found on Skinner's website, which is a Boston auction house for antiques and fine art. The boxes were sold at Skinner's most recent auction of American Furniture and Decorative Arts.

The paper on the large box on the left looks like birds eye maple to me and I'm drawn to the creamy white color of the small box on the upper right. All of the boxes shown here were made by Hannah Davis of Jaffrey, New Hampshire during the last quarter of the 19th Century and her label is affixed to the interior cover of each box. I imagine that if Hannah Davis were here today, she'd be blogging away like the rest of us about interior decorating, storage, furniture, paint color and wallpaper

The large box on the right in this photo is my favorite of the group with it's pretty floral paper
. Bandboxes originated in France and the paper used to cover the boxes were wallpapers made of vegetable and mineral dyes.

A few of the boxes in this photo are from the early 20th Century, although the website did not specify which boxes were from that era. I'm struck by the design of the box on the left which looks like caning with vivid cobalt blue squares. It's such a unique design and combination of colors.

Here's a group which includes a box with its original ribbon. I even found an article from 1912 in The New York Times titled "History in our Grandmother's Bandboxes." It's a fun read if you'd like to learn a little more about these sweet old treasures.

Another favorite of mine in this group is the box on the left with the soft gray background, pink flowers and bright blue trim on the top of the lid. I can imagine designing a feminine bedroom around this box.

Here's the the last of the bunch with my favorite being the small square blue and gold box on the right. It almost looks like end papers you'd see in an old book or even a contemporary print on a fabric you could find today.

And how about an example of 19th Century kitchen storage? Pictured above is a charming 19th Century cheese plate with a glass dome. It's a unique piece and with a low auction estimate, I toyed with the idea of placing an online bid for it. It seemed romantic and quaint to keep a wedge of Brie, St. Agur Blue, Explorateur and other fancy cheeses in this beautiful antique, which could sit proudly on my kitchen counter. But, in the end I decided against bidding. Good thing, too as the cheese plate actually sold for more than I paid for my refrigerator. Saran Wrap and a zip lock bag are just fine for my cheese after all, thank you very much.

All images Skinner, Inc.

Magnifique French Villa in Provence

We are at the tail end of winter in Boston and soon it will be spring heading into summer. And, I feel like I really can't complain too much about this winter and the recent rain because our friends in D.C., Delaware, New York and even the South have really had some terrible and unprecedented snow storms this year.
But, it has been very gray in Boston lately and even though I will be heading to Southern Florida soon to visit my parents, I still can't help but day dream about sunny locales with perfect weather, lots of amenities and time for rest and rejuvenation.
So, if you're like me and have had enough of this cold, wet winter, come along for a quick tour of Villa Domaine Laurentine located in the Luberon region of Provence in France! Can't you just feel the warmth of the sun on your face as you sit by the pool (it's heated, of course) with a book, laptop (for catching up on blogging--no work, please), a cool drink and your family or friends with whom to enjoy it all? Click on any of these photos to enlarge them, by the way.
And, when the sun is a bit too much you can head to this covered veranda for a light lunch. Salade Nicoise anyone?
I was surprised to see such a large and well appointed kitchen at a vacation home. Perhaps there is a private chef on site for guests? The warm ivory colored cabinets and terracotta tiles say "Provence" to me.
Here is another view of the kitchen with what is probably some fresh produce.
Isn't this a gorgeous dining room? The chandelier, candle light and Provincial furniture make this a room in which to linger over dinner and good conversation.
The living room is furnished with what looks to be very comfortable sofas plus a chandelier, fireplace, flat panel television and unusual coffee table. Is driftwood found in Provence?
I not sure what this room is exactly. It appears to be a sitting room, but it looks as though there is a small kitchen at the opposite end of the room. I love the soft colors and white washed beams throughout this home.
And here's a hallway leading to......
what appears to be a huge master bedroom suite. More terracotta tiled floors here too. Someone has thoughtfully set out a tray with freshly squeezed orange juice (I would hope!) and croissants for a light breakfast.

The master bedroom suite includes an enormous bathroom, complete with generously sized soaking tub and fireplace. There is nothing like a fireplace in a bathroom. It just seems like a simple luxury to enjoy a fire while relaxing in the tub.

This is such a charming guest bedroom. So pretty with the bed canopy and matching curtains. I like the look of the matching chests on either side of the bed.
And, here is another beautiful bathroom. Again, the use of soft colors is so soothing. The painted detail on the vanity doors is so pretty. This is something that could easily be done by a homeowner by using a simple stencil to dress up plain vanity doors.
And what's this? A guest house on the property too?
Another charming living area with a fireplace
Which comes complete with its own kitchen and more terracotta tile floors.

Another beautifully decorated guest bedroom .

Here's the bathroom for the master bedroom in the guest house. It's not as luxurious as the baths in the main house, but still very nice.
This appears to be another bedroom in the guest house, but the tile floors are slightly different here. Such beautiful lamps they've used here on either side of the beds.
This would seal the deal for me. A private clay tennis court with lighting for night play and a ball machine (or ball "launcher" as they apparently say in France). **Sigh**
There's even a small chapel on site.
Perhaps the property includes a private lavender field as well?
Here's a shady outdoor sitting area.
A small outbuilding on the property.

And lastly, the front door to welcome you inside.
So, what do you think of this wonderful villa? I thought it would make a great spot for an Interior-Design-Bloggers-Convention someday, but it rents for 2,800 to 3,800 Euros per night. Yes, that's per night. The main house includes four bedrooms and four bathrooms, a professional kitchen, air conditioning, high speed internet access, satellite television and eight bicycles at your disposal. The guest house has a salon, dining room, kitchen, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
If you'd like to read more details, visit the website here.

And please do send me a post card if you go!

All photos and information from

One more thing! To see another beautiful French Villa, visit Willow Decor. With the dreary weather here in Boston, we've all got the South of France on our minds! Enjoy!