November 19, 2009

"FALL" into CHRISTMAS EVENT....Literally

What a glorious day! Warm, for Chicago standards..........sunny and genuinely happy. The first tour of my home at our event called "Fall into Christmas". My house was decorated for fall, and the shop, Christmas. Almost 100 attended. To those held up by the bus service, please accept my apology. First time events usually have learning curves.  

So......... welcome!

Located in Wayne, IL., a rural suburb of Chicago, steeped in tradition, particularly an equestrian history. Our home received a plaque in 1999, being the second oldest home in our village, 1856.

View out my window this week

Mind if I take you through the questions asked and comments overheard?

Q;  Gas lamps! Is that original?
A;  No, after a trip to Savannah, Ga. I was able to convince my husband Steve, we NEEDED them, yes, he installed them. Lamps by Bevolo.

Q; Where did you find ALL this beautiful wood paneling?
A; It is not wood but the completed Faux Bois finish from my talented artist friend Patrick Rouillier, finishing touches such as accessories/lighting to come....

  Yes, that is a close-up of painted drywall, all by hand

Foyer before.

Master Bedroom
Q;  What a huge room!
A;   Well, in the 40's this was the showroom for custom women's clothing. I found a business card when remodeling and had it framed;

Love that "the large selection of smart and inexpensive cottons" went from size 10-20!  $10.95 and up, nice!

master bedroomn
-hand painted chest from Sweden

Q;  Who did this kitchen?
A;   Steve.........completely gutted, walls were removed and pushed back, floors; hand planed oak floors by Ridgefield Lumber, cabinets; actually a grey/green, built by Steve. I love having "throw back your body" and relax in comfortable upholstered chairs in a kitchen.

   Q; What are these counter-tops?
A;  Jerusalem Limestone. Personally like the honed versus shiny look, will mark but that only adds to the patina!

Crazy for nooks with built in benches, great for extra storage and another opportunity for soft goods
Q;  Are these the original floors?
A:  EGADS! no!! When the linoleum was scrapped off we found mouse eaten wooden floors repaired in spots with flattened tin cans, circa 1920's.
Current floors are oak (could not afford the walnut I liked), hand planed edges and many a chain, boulders and hammer throws later has a mellow aged look.

The number one conversation piece, the AGA stove and surrounding "cast"
Q;  What is that stove and is it hard to use, there are no controls?!
A;  once an AGA, always an AGA. emits non-stop warmth, easy to use once you learn how, better energy wise since it is always on and so well insulated it demands less
Q:  It is warm and love it now, what do you do in the summer?
A;  that is the best part.........i turn it off in July and up the grill or make reservations!

Q:  Where did you find that old mantle to perfectly fit the stove?
A;  Steve made it from dirty, dry, old barnwood. My Stones polish turned it into clean, soft, "butter" without sanding.

Q;  What is Stephanie's oil painting on and can you clean it?
A;  Masonite. and yes, it is washable 

Part of the other foyer (I know, old small houses have floor plans that do not make sense, that's the charm!)

Another view

Q;  What is upstairs? (STAIRS WERE BLOCKED)

A;  another bedroom/bath turned into aspiring home office..................want a peek? Less horrifying via photo

agghhhemm.....throat clearing here. Combination of 'perpetual disorder syndrome' and "OMG, PEOPLE ARE COMING WHERE SHOULD I SHOVE THIS??!!"

Should I be embarrassed?

Now, this is a beautiful office and belongs to the lovely and talented Brooke of one of my fav blogs; Velvet and Linen. In responding to her post I enquired "where are the piles, the equipment?!" She graciously responded;
  • baskets contain some of the electronics
  • use the "touch-it-once" rule, that is deal with it at the moment
  • if you cannot handle it the first time, put in one basket. As her basket mounts, she disciplines herself to sit down and tackle it.
"Brooke, want to come help?" "Aren't you just dying to leave sunny California for grey Chicago?"
I have a long way to go but her advice resonates in my head constantly........

Living Room conversation area; two chairs pulled up for fireside chats. There is the dreadful chair that needs to be re-upholstered. 

I hate my drapes...........too busy and jarring for my current taste..........BUT, I SPENT A FORTUNE! Linen would suit me just fine

  A new favorite, still in living room and just to the left of the previous picture. LEE, INDUSTRIES, settee and leather ottoman under the table.  (we are a distributor)

Q; Where is the dining room?
A;  Happily, gone!. The dedicated space for a dining room, adjacent to the above and now a "reading" room or "great for party conversation" room, functioned as a "pass-thru". The above table is late 1800's France. The beautiful herringbone patterned top holds a surprise; two built in leaves that pull out, rise to meet the top and can seat 10, easily. A few bits of furniture are set-aside and we dine near the fireplace.

Living/dining/reading/conversation rooms

Q: What are the wall colors?
A;  'Greenfield Pumpkin' by Benjamin Moore Aura collection.
Color is to me a personal decision. Ask yourself:
  • What colors do you look good in, tend to wear often?
  • What emotions do colors bring out in you? Example; My colors bring out the emotion "warm and cozy", that makes me feel good, reflects my love of Autumn and colors I wear.
  • My friend Linda loves grey's, blues and cream. I believe she has used the words "soothing and calming", plus, she looks beautiful in those colors.
For the BEST source on color visit Maria's blog 'Colour Me Happy', she is brilliant!!

Going towards the Den

Q; Who's wallpaper is this?
A;  Brunschwig and Fils 

  Q;  Were the beams, beadboard and wrap-around shelf always here?
   A;  No, Steve again

  Den still.........
Q;  Why does that table have a crank?
 A;  Glad you asked! Came from a bakery in France. The handle connected to a slatted tray on the bottom. Prior to a glass top it perfectly held baguettes. As the supply diminished patrons would turn the handle bringing the bread within easy reach

Q;  What was that lamp?
A;  A fire extinguisher from Italy

Q;  Why all the "dog" antiques and no dogs?
A;   Because my Corgi's; Cooper, on the left (Cardigan Corgi) and Woofie (Pembroke Corgi) are VERY NAUGHTY AND ILL MANNERED. XXOO......They went to the barn.

Q;  How old is the barn?
  A; Not old, maybe 12 years

Q;  Who built it?
 A;  Steve, all by hand, excluding the concrete floor

 Let's pop outdoors for just a peek
Q;  What is that structure out there?
 A;  An architectural element I designed AND Steve built

Q;  What an unusual birdhouse, where did you get that?
 A;  At the shop, Steve builds them.......come on! I designed that too!

Q; What is your driveway, brick?
A;  Yes, and they are vintage street bricks from Chicago. And yes, if anyone noticed my firm did the landscape AND the brick driveway....not Steve

Just want to give you a glimpse of our new pool surround my landscape firm just completed. Want you to see my favorite components together; vintage street brick, "full range" bluestone and limestone. Here let me just back up, just a step or two more, almost................BAM! SCREAM!!!

The latest in fashion forward minded severed, tone-on-tone, CAM-WALKER with AIR-INFLATOR, for your comfort by the push of a blue button! Remember the post on WELLIES? The one with all the options, styles, colors? is my new seasonal little number.......sigh..........

Think I had a premonition? A premonition when I called this event FALL into Christmas?

Lastly, here are some snaps of the shop decorated for Christmas by our very talented staff. Thank you Sarah, Vicky, Susan, Diane, Jenna and Maria!


All Santa's handmade by Dee Gann


NEST candles, the holiday scent is the best! Heard the Godiva Chocolate NEST candles just arrived!


  • the "smalls" in my home, where they came from and what they mean to me
  • portrait of the artist.....Patrick Rouillier, back from will be amazed, promise!
thank you for visiting!

November 10, 2009


a small bit, fragment, miscellaneous

From Chicago area news to Nashville. Today I would love to chat about a series of snippets.............

As I write tonight, I am sitting, taking a breath and looking at the clutter surrounding me....sigh..... Tomorrow is the tour of my home, better get up early..........over 100 coming!    yikes!!!

But I have good news, we are being honored by the participation of a special guest

Elaine Matsushita.
Having been the Editor of the Home and Garden section at the Chicago Tribune newspaper, Elaine and so many, were let go. Think shelter magazines..........the cuts at the Tribune were brutal and the newspaper today is a shadow of it's former self.

Her blog 'The Snoopster' is about design, primarily the Chicago scene, events, "snooping" into peoples lives and sharing her insights. As I get to know this woman on a personal level I find Elaine very warm, open and engaging. Our developing friendship makes my heart sing.

Join Elaine as she signs her new book co-written with Susan Fredman, 'The Power of the Powder Room'

Susan Fredman is a design powerhouse in Chicago and beyond. Susan and her eponymous firm was just featured in the current issue of 'Traditional Homes' magazine.


 Susan was one of several featured winners of the 'Classic Woman Awards' 2009.
'Designs for Dignity' is her pro-bono design service to area non-profits in order to create interiors that reflect dignity, hope and comfort. To date the firm has completed 75 projects......Congratulations Susan!

Mark your's coming...........THE 2009 GENEVA ILLINOIS CHRISTMAS WALK.
December 4th and 5th, this annual event sponsors a housewalk featuring homes decorated for the holidays, Christmas inspired shops, roasting chesnuts at curbside, horse drawn carriages and the crowning of  2009's 'St. Lucia'.........last year this event was featured on the ELLEN DEGENERES show.

We are one of five businesses awarded a home to decorate. This years home is a treasure! A very cozy and intimate 1860's era residence. Our theme is 'Nordic'. The owners, Sandy and Tom Lichtenstein's decor is Belgian/Swedish, with slipcovered linen furniture, antiques, neutrals and touches of turquoise. Stay tuned!

Join us on an excursion to Nashville, Tennessee!
I love this city, vibrant, fun........think music.........great antiquing, restaurants..............pure southern!
This February is the 20th annual  'ANTIQUE AND GARDEN SHOW OF NASHVILLE'. (look here). Have you ever been to this event? Personally this trumps all other garden and antique shows I have attended. You won't believe who this year's speakers are;
  • Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland
  • Michael Smith.........White House designer
  • Ryan Gainey, renowned and flamboyant landscape designer 
Amazing antique dealers in all price levels, exquisite display gardens and a major dose of inspiration in February.
DETAILS;   sketchy........for now...........but I can tell you this
  • February 10th thru 13th
  • Fly in and out. If you are in the Chicago area, we will trailer your treasures back, nice huh?
  • For others there are shippers available
  • Stay downtown Nashville, within walking distance to the convention center, MUSIC, great restaurants.
  • Together we will spend an afternoon in historic Franklin, Tn.
  • Cost?............that is one of the "minor" details, we are working on. Let us know if you are interested in joining us, space is very limited

Hope to see you,  I have work to do!

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