Unlikely Pairing

Today seems to be my day to find two things that “go together”.  Things that we already own but have never thought of as a pair before. One such grouping is a little carved wood tripod and silver platter.

The tray about 15-inches in diameter and tarnished.

In addition to being tarnished, one of the feet had broken off. I superglued the foot back in place.

I reattached the broken foot with superglue.

  Then I pulled out the Wright’s Silver cream and gave the tray a quick shine.

I try to keep silver polish on hand just in case.

 The tripod is hinged so it will lie flat when not in use.

The profile of the table base is a carved leaf motif.

 When opened up the base is approximately 18 inches tall.

This is a small piece that will fit in any little nook.

 The contrast of the carved wood with the engraved silver tray is an unexpected pairing.

This is so handy to use in almost any room of the house to hold trinkets, drinks, etc.

 For now I’ll tuck it into the space between the love seats in the living room.

Do you like the rustic and the refined together?  Opposites attract, you know. Right, Charlie?


Detailing the Car: Interior

I decluttered and unjunked the inside of my car.  Now I’m going to try my own version of detailing.  I’m not a detail cleaning person so this may fizzle out long before I finish.

The back seat is clear. Over and out.

My supplies are:

  • old tooth-brush
  • window cleaner
  • all-purpose spray cleaner
  • clean rags
  • small shop vacuum cleaner

To start I vacuumed everything:  floors, seats, cracks and crevices. This was helpful but didn’t really do the trick.

The floor needs a good vacuuming

 I took out the floors mats that were removable and shook them and beat them with a stick (I have a rug beater but can’t find it).  This allowed a beach’s worth of sand to fall out of the rugs.

I brushed small spaces with the tooth-brush to loosen the dust and vacuumed again.

Loosening dirt with toothbrush

 I used the multi-purpose spray on all the hard plastic areas

Cleaned the dashboard with multi-purpose spray cleaner

 And finished up with window cleaner.

Spray the windows and shine them up inside and out

 Wow, I love this car. 

As clean as she gets.

 On a warm day I may pull out the carpet machine and clean the upholstery with it. But until then it smells so nice, better than new car smell.  I think I’ll pop in a CD, put the seat back and relax. (Just kidding!)

Are you putting off a complex yet satisfying chore? Me, too!

Public Rooms of an 1880s Lodge: Dining Room

The dining room is centered in the lodge: the bowed windows just left of the small covered terrace.

 The lodge in the photo above has many interesting rooms which can be seen with links in this earlier post. The dining room, like the other public rooms, has a rustic flavor befitting a hunting lodge with certain more elegant details befitting a great house.  Much of the decoration in the dining room centers around fish and fishing. Notice the taxidermy specimens on the wall.  Exposed wood beams support the ceiling and a former gaslight ceiling fixture has been electrified.

Dining room at the lodge runs the full width of the house.

 The dining room is fairly symmetrical, centered on the fireplace.  Matching window seats are built into the bowed windows at either end.

On the right is the passage into the front hall.

 This room may be entered through a swinging door from the kitchen hall, through the breakfast room or from the centrally located entrace hall to the house. Notice the grand scale of the carpet.

Dinner seating in this large room is accomplished by rearranging 3 tables to accomodate various numbers of guest.  The main table comfortably seats 6.

Drop leaf extension tables are kept in front of the window seats at each end of the room.

  Add one more table and you have 10 seats total. If you need more than that add the other drop leaf table with or without raising the leaf. They are usually configured into one long table for dinner or may be used individually for a buffet party to keep the traffic flowing.

This room is used daily for dining. Do you have a room designated as the “dining room”?  Do you use it for dining? Or some other purpose?

Parisian Flowered Windows

On the left bank of the Seine, in the Latin Quarter of Paris, at the corner of Rue Cujas and Rue Victor Cousin is the Grand Hotel Saint Michel. While we were in Paris walking near La Sorbonne (in October) we didn’t know what this building was, we only knew that the window boxes were well-tended and elegant.

Flowers on the building from 2 blocks away caught our attention

 As we got closer the effect of uniform plants at every window was stunning. The softness of the green vines against the solid architecture and the pop of red was not too exuberant just charming and welcoming. 

Uniformity and repetition make a simple idea appear abundant

 In Paris as well as the outlying areas we never noticed that anyone had succumbed to using faux posies.  While I don’t think I have the tenacity to tend window boxes at The Glade, I’m sure these lovely windows will inspire something. Maybe bridesmaid bouquets at a wedding.

Maybe some French-inspired color at the Cottage

 Oooooooooo, how about a planting at the Cottage? Oh, yes, I can (almost) see it now.

What inspires you? How do you manage your inspirational ideas: in a shoe box, in a file cabinet, on a computer, in a journal, in an album?  On a pile on the floor in the bedroom? Yikes!

Sidebar:  I refuse to succumb to fake flowers and greenery myself.  (This is not a pledge just a passing fancy.)

The Lodge: Changes Over 100 Years

This hunting lodge was built in the 1800s. This facade faces a lake.
The Lodge in 1893

 Notice that it had a wrap-around porch and awnings which have since been removed. The driveway originally ran between the house and the lake, now the driveway runs on the other side of the house.

The Lodge today

 The outer walls are mostly log construction which were originally left their natural color but are now painted white.

The driveway was rerouted to the back side of the house

 This side of the house still has its original double decker porch.

Being rustic, the porch has no railing

 The French doors are rarely used for entrance into the living room. The blue trim in the above picture is the most true to color of all the photos.

The stone terrace on the lake side is often used for afternoon reading or to take the air.

 The kitchen wing is used as the primary entrance since parking is on this side of the house.

Kitchen wing with covered entrance

 This old lodge looks different from when it was first built but really hasn’t changed much over the past 100 years. At The Glade things are constantly changing.

Do you hold onto the past? Or is change your thing? I’m a blend of the two.


Inspiration: Normandie Jardin Potager

Since the garden was pretty much destroyed by Hurricane Irene, now would be a great opportunity to make a few design tweaks.

The garden went from this .  .  .

The garden in June, fifteen 4 by 4 squares, before the hurricane.

  to this .  .  .

From the same angle, the garden was demolished, after the hurricane.

 And then we visited France. Now I’m determined that we’ll not only have a kitchen garden but a French jardin potager, potager for short. A potager combines practicality with ornamentation.

Jennifer Bartley has designed some scrumptious potagers in her book Designing the New Kitchen Garden: American Potager Handbook and on her website.

Jennifer Bartley's plan for a potager.

 So what’s the difference? Charlie gets his vegetables and I get some herbs and flowers, too.

Here’s a list of elements we’d like to incorporate in the potager:

  1. More room for vegetables (16 instead of 15 squares)
    Groundplan of projected 2012 potager


  2. Lilac bush
  3. Iron gate
    The porch railing can be used as the garden gate and fence.


  4. Mirror
  5. Formal entrance
  6. More planned use of space (The present garden just haphazardly happened and expanded.)
  7. Hedge

Driving through La Normandie (in France) we happened upon a potager which even in October was still producing and looking lovely and well-kept.

A well-designed potager with the ubiquitous box hedge.

 Some parts were idle but the form and function remain.

The precision is captivating

 A  fruit tree is not out of place in a potager.

An apple tree laden with fall fruit

 Switches, perhaps used as pea vine supports in the spring, are neatly bundled near the steps to the house.

The steps are ready for a makeover but the garden itself is perfect.

 Here’s a preliminary plan for the 2012 Garden at The Glade.

2012 Plan for Charlie's Potager

 This is what it looks like now from the same angle as the drawing.

This is the site for the new and improved potager.
  1.  Keep the lamb’s ear in the front but thin it. (It protects an underground wire from digger’s shovel.)
  2. Move the lilac (on the far left of the picture) to a more prominent position. 
  3. Remove the front row of squares directly behind the lamb’s ear to make room for a gate, fence, planters and herbs.
  4. Rechip all paths.

Since I’m the planner and Charlie is the implementer, the ultimate decision is his.

Are you planning next year’s planting? When will you start? What are your crops? Keep us posted.

I’m linked to


In the Trench

I went to Paris with the intention of buying a trench coat but the weather was unseasonably warm and so I forgot about it until the final few days we were there. At that point, with Charlie’s help, the search was on: we looked in department stores, in an underground mall, in specialty stores, in “the passages”, and in neighborhood boutiques.  No success. So while 90 per cent of the women in Paris were wearing trench coats of different colors, lengths and cuts, I couldn’t find one.

How many trench coats do you see?

 The standard of all trench coats is Burberry: leather buckles, bound buttonholes, engraved pearl buttons, silk lining. Aaaaah.

The Burberry trench has beautiful detailing throughout.

   The back is equally elegant.

This model is cashmere and wool and sells for a mere $5995.00. What's not to love?

   Now that I’m back in the good old US I’m determined to have a trench coat.  My parameters are:

  • a light color in the greige family
  • seam detailing that tapers the bodice
  • knee length
  • belt with a buckle
  • traditional lapel
  • less than $100.

And so the search began on the internet and I knew immediately (after trying to locate one in France) that without a specific brand and model, this search would be haphazard and fruitless .

I looked in our brand new, well-stocked TJ Maxx and a second TJ Maxx, Burlington Coat Factory, Jones of New York, Ann Taylor,  Marshalls, Ross, and Banana Republic. Fruitless. I found trench coats, even trench coats in a good color.  The one problem that united them:  they’re too short. I want the coat to at least come to my knees.  Every one I tried on was at least 4 inches above my knees.  I’m 5 feet 5 inches which in my family is NOT TALL.

In the 2nd round off shopping (really the 5th round if you count before Paris, Paris and internet.) I tried L.L. Bean, Nordstrom, Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, and Talbots .

L.L. Bean had a nice coat on sale for $99 but only had large and extra large in stock in the store. I would need to order it from the website. When I went to the website the coat was $129. Hmmm.

L L Bean Trench Coat

 Macy carried lots of choices.  I tried Jones New York (too short). Calvin Klein had a nice shoulder detail but back had a split rather than a pleat (the pleat would keep me dryer in the rain).

Calvin Klein Trench at Macy's was about $99

  London Fog at Macy’s had a nice back pleat but no shoulder flap detail.

I finally ordered a London Fog Trench coat from Overstock.com (details below).

London Fog Tench Coat that I ordered.

 This has a similar back shoulder detail to the Calvin Klein above, a button down flap and the back vent is pleated. I like the buckles at the wrist.

Order Summary

London Fog Women’s Double-breasted Trench Coat
Item#: 13574216
Quantity: 1
Option: Toffee S
Subtotal: $88.99
Shipping: FREE
Total: $88.99

It seems to be a classic coat at a nice price. It won’t be long before I’m in the trench.

Do you look all over the place for one item? Are you relieved to finally make a decision?