Tea by the Fire

Doesn't this look inviting?

Just a quick post today. Unfortunately, I don't know where I found this image, but it's one of my favorites.  My guess is it's from either Country Living or Country Home.  If you know the source, please leave a comment with the details and I'll edit the post.

A Cottage Kitchen

Here's a magazine worthy kitchen without massive stainless steel appliances and miles of marble. The countertops are the same material as the floor--earthy terra cotta Mexican tiles in a hexagonal shape.  This home is in California so the Mexican tiles work well here, but the French antique cane settee and English cricket table balance the Southwest look.  

The old Amana refrigerator is faced with mirror, which was an unusual choice even in 1993. The mirror would certainly keep me out of the Häagen-Dazs. Sure, the house has great architectural details and is filled with antiques, but the appeal also comes from furnishings added to and not permanently installed in the kitchen. The pediment over the window, butcher block island, antique prints, and plate rack all add character to the room. 

(Sorry for the badly spliced photo).

The chandelier is lit with candles.  I wish my ceilings were high enough to try this at home. I like the urn filled with shells too.  The chairs are English.

I still like kitchens with the newest appliances and latest materials, but it's refreshing to see a beautiful kitchen with old appliances and no stainless steel or stone for a change.

All photos from "Kitchens" by Chris Casson Madden (remember her from the early days of HGTV?). Photos by Michael Mundy and John Vaughn. Published by Clarkson Potter, 1993.

Tray Chic

Veranda, Fall 1994. Interior design by DHS Designs (Darryl H. Savage). Photography by Anne Gummerson. Source.

 What I like about blogging, in addition to choosing photos, is writing.  I love words, puns and a play on words and like to indulge myself now and then because I can't do so at work.  It's all serious business in corporate in America.  So excuse the title. I couldn't resist.

The photo above is the only one I could find with an antique tray (papier-mache) table.  My mother had a black tole tray from the 1950s or 1960s painted with puffy pink flowers and gold edges.  It stayed in the back of the coat closet and didn't see the light of day until a yard sale in 1992.  It was pretty, but certainly not "look at me--I'm the focus of the room" material, like the one above.

I can't account for my sudden interest in tole tables, although I did watch Vanity Fair and The Young Victoria this weekend so there was plenty of English influence.  Here are antique tray tables that could hold their own in any room. 

 A French yellow version at Andrew Spindler Antiques

 English Regency tole tray and stand at Antiquario Villas & Cottages

 Chinoisserie motifs at BG Galleries

Another English Regency table. George Subkoff Antiques.

 I'm loving anything yellow lately.  BG Galleries.

 A French Charles X tray on a later stand from Drum & Company.

 Another French tole tray, this time at March

 A subtle design on this 19th Century version from Heather & Company

 Greek key trim is a winner whether it's on curtains, pillows or furniture. Kevin Stone Antiques & Interiors.

Not a tray table, but a similar style and I have a soft spot for anything neoclassical.  Thomas Jolly Antiques.

The only trouble with these tables is that you can't kick back with a pepperoni pizza and put your feet up while watching a movie, but I say put a television in the kitchen instead. Fini.


A Dream Paris Apartment

I was looking through one of my old Veranda magazines (May-June 2006), which included a Paris apartment decorated by Myra Hoefer. Hoefer is a California native and has completed many design projects in Paris for international clients and for the American vacation rental company, Chez Vous. The owners of this apartment are from Sausalito, California.

According to the Veranda article, (written by Jean Bond Rafferty)  Hoefer decorated the apartment in just eight days.  The furnishings include a mix of antiques, reproductions, refinished furniture, and even sofas from IKEA.  The coffee table above was originally a mahogany color. 

The apartment is exactly what one would expect to find in Paris.  It's elegant and sophisticated, but also comfortable and relaxed.

Above are the IKEA sofas.  Can you believe it? IKEA never looked so good.

The entry way, above, includes a chandelier and an Indonesian mirror which was given a makeover with gray paint.

A closer look at a papier-mache figure in the entry way.

Antique oak daybeds and a bust of Napoleon, above.

A plaster chandelier hangs above the dining table and slip covered chairs.  The faience plates are from Astier de Villatte. 

Again, the yellow silk drapes are stand outs.  I've never considered using yellow in my home, but that may change after studying these photos.  I'm trying not to gush, but I'm going to do it anyway.  This apartment is just beautiful! 

The last photo is of the guest room.  The room is accented by touches of lavender, including ribbon which highlights the prints on the wall and organizes bundles of magazines.  The ivory silk drapes frame a classic French window.

So, if I could have any apartment in Paris this would be my first choice.  However, there are plenty of ideas here to bring Parisian style home, whever that may be:

1) Brightly colored drapes (silk or other fabric)
2) A few antiques or good reproductions
3) Pillows in a variety of patterns and complementary colors
4) A collection of inexpensive plates displayed on a wall
5) Candles and fresh flowers

All of these items can be found at a variety of price-points which is good news for those of us on a limited budget.

Visit Myra Hoefer's website to see more of her interiors.

All photos from Veranda Magazine.  Interior Design by Myra Hoefer. Photography by Jacques Dirand.  Veranda Magazine article produced by Caroline Englefield. 


Green Pears, Pink Roses, Artichoke. By Raymond Han.  Demiurge.

Mother Nature, I'm waving the white flag. Enough with the snow, thank you.  Could we see some green outside before May, please?  At least I'm asking nicely.

The reality is that short of a trip to Maui, the landscape is not changing anytime soon. Spring color can only be cultivated indoors for now.  My choice is a citrus green that's refreshing, not shocking and maybe a hint of pink that's pleasing, not punchy. 

I've found  the following for inspiration and I say "inspiration" because most of these items will cost a winter's worth of snow removal service.

Skinner, Inc.

A brightly colored ceramic garden stool is a bold change from the typical white, blue and celadon varieties.

Diptyque Fig scented candle.  Happiness in a jar (although the same has been said about Nutella).

Pratesi bed linens with green chain trim. Luxurious and pretty although Lands End, Garnet Hill, Pottery Barn and other stores carry affordable versions. 

A soft green antique trumeau mirror instead of the usual white or gray trumeau

The sparkle of this emerald-colored crystal vanity set is dazzling, but you can find green glass accessories at flea markets and antique shops.

Watermelon green 1950's  Murano glass lamps.  These are unusual, but must be just as bright when they're off as when they're on. 

I'm not one for folklore, but Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow this morning so apparently, we're due for an early spring.  At this point, I'm a believer.