{out and about}

After rummaging through the Brooklyn Flea while up visiting Sister, she went off to get ready for a performance (she’s an actress!), and I walked up and down the streets of SoHo, stopping in stores here and there, and doing my best to avoid the mobs on Broadway (though I did have to make a stop in Sephora!).

I walked past one storefront and saw it: the Kartell Ghost Chair.

i should very much like this!

[Husband: if you are reading this, your wife would be one happy girl to have this chair arrive as a just-because gift or a late Valentine’s gift or even a future birthday gift!  Just sayin’.  🙂 ]

So of course I went in!  Kartell is a company that produces furniture and other “habitat” pieces totally out of plastic in a range of colors.

it was like a rainbow of plastic

Honestly, I am not a big fan of most of the furniture and housewares – it’s a bit to modern for my taste – but that ghost chair is styled with a traditional round back shape that it makes it feel less modern.  Traditional with a twist, maybe?

kartell's clear plastic chairs

They had several floor models out, so I was sure to test them out.  For being made of plastic, the ghost chair was remarkably comfortable and sturdy feeling!  Most of the other models? – not so much.

A few items were for sale in back.  Barbie chair anyone?  Ha!  Among the discounted pieces was this lucite bar stool.  Do your recognize it???

can't get that stool out of my mind!

YES, the very same stool in the apartment of my dreams, featured in January’s Renovation Style and seen all over bloggieworld (and I think I read and re-read the article probably 15 times I loved her apartment so much!):

anna kohler's kitchen, as shown in renovation style

[I would accept 2 or 3 of those stools as a gift for our kitchen as well.  🙂 ]

They also had some cute mini versions of ghost chair, but in opaque black, for a lucky little girl’s fabulous tea table.

how cute are these?!

The other side of the store showcased their array of colors on the various chair styles:

talk about color!

So what’s your take? Would you buy a plastic chair like this for your home?  Or is it a little too modern for you?


…is definitely my treasure!!!

This morning I was out the door early dropping Husband off at the airport.  We had to take a detour through town, and what did I spy in front of a restored antebellum home sticking out from a box of trash waiting to be sent to a far off landfill?!…

an antique chandelier!

In a spurt of pre-7AM energy (I am so not a morning person), I yelled to Husband, “Do a U-turn!!!  Did you see that chandelier?!?!”  He looked at me like I was crazy but obliged, and into the car went this pretty thing.

in love

I realize it’s hard to see a lot of the details on the chandy with all the living room business going on in the background, but this thing is just beautiful…despite the dirt and the missing prisms and the wonky tapers.

it's in need of a good cleaning and probably re-wiring

I’ve seen chandeliers like this for sale in several antique stores around town for $300-400.  The prices are probably insanely inflated, but still!  This is not a toss-able lighting fixture!  I’m glad I’ll be giving it a new home where it will be well loved and appreciated.  🙂

can you say perfect?

I’m thinking this pretty may find its home above the kitchen table when the house gets renovated.  It will be the perfect bit of vintage for the room.

i'll need to find some new prisms too!

I guess I need to add “learn how to re-wire antique chandeliers” to my to-do list, huh? And then clean it up, track down some extra prisms, and find some matching/coordinating chain loops so it will be long enough hanging from our 12-foot ceilings!

How about you?  What fabulous things have you found along the road?!

As I was reading Camila’s post on her visit to the Brooklyn Flea last weekend, I realized I never posted about mine!  I was up in NYC visiting my sister on the weekend the Flea opened for the spring.  It was my first time to go, and it did not disappoint!

gorgeous day for a flea market!

There are lots of pics to show – but long story short, I didn’t buy anything but was inspired by a lot.  And I ate a reallllly good pizza that had ricotta from Salvatore Bklyn, recently on Martha and cousin of Linds at everythingLEB.  It was fan-freaking-tastic.

me thoroughly enjoying my ricotta margherita pizza! YUM

Now for the pics!

I saw lots and lots of “industrial” pieces – all the rage in blogland right now…

i'd put the pouf in our living room as extra seating...

wish i would have picked up those wire baskets for a bookshelf

i'd trade out my desk for this cool industrial desk

these old stampers would make a cool bookshelf collection!

old suitcase to make a side table out of

vintage apothecary and mason jars to arrange on a sunny windowsill

There were a lot of cute mirrors and pieces of furniture I wish I could have snatched up…

federal mirror i'd eddie ross (paint a fun color)

looooooved this - why oh why didn't i buy it?!

vintage barrel chair in a roberta roller rabbit fabric (pricey!)

i desperately wanted this coffee table for my living room! - love the shape, details, and the little clawfeet

more very cool reupholstered furniture - yes please i'll take that orange ottoman

upholstery options (and some gorge kilim pillows)

and WHY didn't i buy these sconces to hang above my mantle?!?! (oh right, they needed re-wiring and had a $150 pricetag)

fun turquoise painted chairs!

this little armoire was very Little Green Notebook - such a statement piece!

looooooved this high-backed settee - perfect for a breakfast nook

secretaries are perfect desks for small spaces - pretty AND functional - and i loved the burled wood face on this pretty

this was marble topped and its legs needed a coat of paint, but i loved the shape

grain and coffee bean sacks for pillow making!

sister's boyfriend picked up one of these wooden bins to make a liquor tray

It was a perfect weekend to see the Flea – next time I will not leave empty handed!!!

My parents came down for a visit this past weekend!  It was so fun to have them and “the poochie-poo” here to show them around our new town.

my parents' doggie, izzy

The visit was perfect timing: M’ssippi is a few weeks into spring, and the spring home tours are getting underway!

Saturday we drove the Natchez Trace, a 440-mile road that starts in Nashville, Tennessee, and ends in Natchez, Mississippi.  It was formerly a Native American path between the Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers, but is now a scenic route leading to some of the most beautiful antebellum homes in the South!

About halfway down the Trace from Vicksburg in Lorman, M’ssippi, is Old Country Store, visited by Alton Brown (of Food Network fame) on his Feasting on Asphalt tour back in 2007.

old country store in lorman, MS

love the front porch and faded painting on the storefront

Alton Brown claims it’s “the best fried chicken he’s ever had”.  I have to second that!!!  It was fan-freaking-tastic.  YUM.  Thank goodness it was an all-you-can-eat buffet, because we ate all we could!

i think i may have inhaled a few pieces of fried chicken

Mr. Davis, the owner of Old Country Store, came out of the kitchen periodically yelling, “Freeeesh chicken!  Freeeeeesh chicken!  Come get your fresh fried chicken!”  Then he told the story of how he bought the store, how his “mama was the Cornbread Cookin’ Queen” and he “became the Fried Chicken King”.  Then he broke out into an autobiographical song about his mama and his chicken and got a rousing round of applause!  (here’s a link to a YouTube video I found of him singing – skip to 1:15) It was awesome – we LOVED that we made this stop!

Our bellies full, we were off to Natchez!

love the leaded upper windows

Natchez is one of the US’s oldest cities, settled by the French back in 1716.

cute little porch

It’s right on the bluffs of the Mississippi River and was an important – and very rich – river city leading up to the Civil War.

beautiful B&B - especially loved the garden

The city was populated by rich planters who built beautiful town homes, many of which still exist today: spared by an almost immediate surrender to the North during the Civil War.

cute little cottage kind of like ours

The Union used many homes in Natchez as offices, so much of the integrity of these antebellum homes was spared.

love the bright white

Unlike many Southern cities, Natchez was able to almost immediately spring back to economic prosperity due to its location on the Mississippi River.

a little victorian up on a hill

Once steamboats fell out of prominence as a primary form of goods transportation, and the railroad grew, Natchez’s economy declined.

stunning victorian - check out those turrets!

Like many towns with a long history and inventory of old homes, Natchez now relies on tourism to power the economy.

another beautiful victorian

Enough of the boring history stuff.  🙂

my new house inspiration for the exterior!

Every spring and fall, Natchez holds its Natchez Pilgrimage Tour, where 20+ antebellum mansions are opened to the public for a 5-week period (before it gets blazing hot)!  Each home has tour guides on-site to tell the story of the home, its role before and during the Civil War, and its restoration.  All of the female tour guides wear hooped skirts – so cute!

We visited 3 homes: Richmond, The Burn House, and Rosalie.  We didn’t get pics of the interiors of the first two since they are private residences, but did get some good exterior pics:


the front, a greek revival addition added in the early 1820s

the former front, now the middle and back, originally built in the late 1700s

really neat idea to add plantings to a front stair

pretty iron railing and love those to-the-floor windows!


This private residence was immaculately restored on an amazing, camellia-filled piece of property.  Just beautiful!  They said it was the first home in Natchez of the Greek Revival style.

stunning home with an enormous live oak!

the rear of the home, showing its extensive gardens

camellia trees EVERYWHERE - dozens of varieties

beautiful copper lanterns hung on all the porches - i want!

english garden in one of the courtyards


This is one of the more impressive mansions in Natchez, now owned and operated by the Daughters of the Revolution.  It contains one of the most complete and best preserved sets of Belter rosewood furniture in the US.

the rear exterior of rosalie

front parlor - showing off many of the belter pieces

the back parlor - even more of the belter furniture! my interior design prof would die to see that carpet!

one of the upstairs bedrooms

view of the Mississippi River from the backyard

Hungry after all that touring, we ate along the river at a cute place called the Magnolia Inn, where it had this view of the river:

sun setting on the river

And then the last seconds of sun before we drove the Trace home:

the mighty mississippi

If you ever get the chance to visit Natchez, I highly recommend it!  It’s a feast for your eyes and full of good ol’ Southern hospitality.

Way back before Christmas (when I was lost in the holiday non-blogging void), Husband and I took a jaunt down 95 to Fredericksburg.  While he was off doing Husband job things, I decided to visit the Kenmore House, “an icon of Colonial architecture” according to my interior design teacher last semester.

I so did not expect what I saw inside this unassuming Georgian exterior:

gorgeous example of georgian architecture

The 1770s Kenmore House was built by President George Washington’s sister, Betty Washington Lewis, and her husband, Fielding Lewis.  The 1,300 acre plantation stretched over most of Fredericksburg and looked over the Rappahannock River.

Impressive quals?  Sure.  Just wait ’til you see the plasterwork inside!  (and I apologize in advance for the picture-heavy post)

archway in the front entry

The house was an incredible example of Colonial architecture.  And hoo-wee, this was a wealthy house for that time.  The house is bathed in typical wealthy Colonial colors, wall coverings, mouldings, and plaster.

a-ma-zing reproduction wallpaper border

Although from England, Mr. Lewis built and operated an arms factory for the American Revolution.  He lost much of his wealth (and eventually passed) fighting for American independence.

the ceiling plasterwork in the chamber room

Not even 100 years later, the Kenmore House found itself stuck in the middle another war, the “War of Northern Aggression” (haha I had to throw in that Southern term seeing that I’m about to be living in Mississippi…).

beautiful panelling, fireplace and flooring

In December of 1862, the North and the South collided all around Kenmore, with over 18,000 casualties combined.

the front-facing window in the chamber room

Cannonballs were found stuck in both sides of the house – meaning it was struck by both Northern and Southern canons.  (The tour guide joked that this fact helped future fundraisers appeal to the Northerners and Southerners alike, saying that Kenmore was on the North’s side in one breath, and the South’s in another!)

isn't this ceiling STUNNING?!

The entrenched South decidedly won the Battle of Fredericksburg.

amazing original wood flooring

Mr. Lewis died just after the end of the Civil War, and then Betty of breast cancer in 1797.

a plaster swan amidst the chamber room mantle plasterwork

The plantation was sold to the Gordon family after Betty’s death.  They kept it pretty much as is, other than adding the portico off the back and putting on a slate roof.

another angle of the chamber room mantle fireplace

The Gordons name the plantation “Kenmore” after their Scottish ancestral castle, “Kenmuir”.

the entry - the chandelier showed extreme wealth due to the number of candles

A William Key Howard of Baltimore bought Kenmore in 1881, and owned it until 1914.

isn't that stair detailing beautiful?!

In 1922, Kenmore was about to be torn down to make room for city life.

the absolutely stunning dining room

The Kenmore Association was formed to preserve the property.  They fundraised enough to purchase the house and what was left of the plantation grounds.

some mistletoe hanging from the center plaster

The saving of Kenmore wasn’t too much after the National Park Service was established by the Department of the Interior in 1916.  Its purpose was to regulate and preserve historic monuments such as the Kenmore House.

another shot of the ceiling...can you imagine how long this took?!

The Kenmore Association later saved the childhood home of George Washington, Ferry Farm, also in Fredericksburg, along the Rappahannock River.

i loved the wall mouldings

They have no idea who did the incredible plasterwork at Kenmore…they simply refer to him as “the stucco man”.

a close up of the shells in the moulding

The Stucco Man also did the ceiling of the dining room of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s adult home just outside DC.  (I love that families shared their “guys” even back then…makes me laugh seeing that we’re having my cousin’s guy work on our basement this week…he also works for my cousin’s dad, his mother-in-law, my uncle, etc.  Too funny.)

looking from the dining room to the entry

According to the Kenmore site, the dining room used to house “a large oval table, a square table, 15 chairs, china, silver, and glassware.”  I can only imagine how beautiful the room would be in candlelight at Christmas dinner!

how's that for crown moulding?!

The house underwent considerable restoration, most recently in 2001.  It has been restored to its historically accurate prime of 1775-1800.

this blew me away

The scene above the fireplace in the dining room is of Aesop’s Fable of “The Fox and the Crow”, warning diners to beware false flattery!

a closer view of the fable

If you look closely, you can see the fox circling the base of the tree where the crow is tempting him with some cheese.

the mantle below the fox & crow scene

All of the plaster moulding (fireplace mantles included) was either cast or carved in place.  Can you imagine how long this project would have taken?!  The Stucco Man was a true master of the art of plaster.

a view of the back gardens, i imagine considerably smaller nowadays

Out the back of the dining room were meticulously maintained English boxwoods and a brick pathway.

the back portico, added by the gordon family in the late 1800s

beautiful decorative cement work, also added by the gordon family

The drawing room was just off the dining room, was supposedly used to be filled with more expensive and elaborate furnishings…which is not a surprise once you see this ceiling too!

the drawing room, with its *ahem* interesting color choices

The same turquoise-y blue trim from the entry, chamber room, and dining room continued into the drawing room, but these walls were covered in some truly amazing hand flocked (kind of furry to the touch) wallpaper.  It probably wouldn’t have been my first color choice given the paneling, but I’m sure it was EXTREMELY expensive.

a close up of a wallpaper sample

My favorite feature of the room was the ceiling plasterwork, where each of the four corners represented one of the four seasons:

grapes for summer

palm fronds for spring

mistletoe for winter

acorns for fall

a bigger view of the ceiling - it forms a trefoil with the corners one of the seasons

the center of the drawing room

The crown moulding and work above the fireplace were also quite amazing in the drawing room.

another stunning example of wealth above the fireplace

love the shells everywhere - like those we find at the bay house!

And I loved the mantle too.  (I guess I have mantles on the brain with the departure of my little mantle project…)

a close up of the mantle plasterwork

Mr. Lewis’ study/office, a less trafficked area (and therefore less of a need to show off his wealth) had less ornamental work.  I guess it was kind of like the man caves of today.  I can just imagine Betty wanting to plaster it all but Fielding resisting.  I bet it was a similar conversation to those overheard in my house.  🙂

another mantle, this time in the "small room"

I loved the little touches all over the house that made it so substantial, like this lock.

the hardware throughout the house was beautiful too

Going down into the basement of the house, they exposed the wood and plaster lathe to show how the walls were constructed.

exposed wood and plaster lathe

The buildings flanking the house had been rebuilt in brick at some point; originally they were both wood.

the kitchen house, with the herb garden lining the path

inside the kitchen

And to the right is a building that now houses offices (I can’t remember what they said it used to be…).

the offices now

So that’s that!  If you made it through all these pics – high five!  I just couldn’t cut out the pics of the plasterwork, it’s just so stunning!

Thanks for joining me on my little tour of the Kenmore House!

one final view of the kenmore house

More info on the Kenmore House or George Washington’s Ferry Farm can be found here.  For visiting info, here, and to donate, here.

While at the Bay House over Thanksgiving (I KNOW! – so long ago, I am such a slacker!), I had to snag some fabric swatches for my final interior design project of the semester.  So off to the closest fabric store I went, which was set at the back of an enormous antiques store.

Swatches picked out, I wandered through booth after booth of antiques, and what did I spy?  A huge pile of gold-plated, bamboo-handled silverware!!! SCORE!


Wanna see some close-ups?

a few serving pieces plus knives, forks, and spoons!

check out those bamboo handles!

Husband and I have a set of china from my dad’s mother, which she called her “bank china”…meaning it’s a set that a bank gave her when she opened a bank account.  Isn’t that bizarre?!


It’s such a sweet gray and blue floral pattern with a gold rim.  But all we had to use as utensils with the china was our everyday stainless stuff.  This just fits the bill!

isn't it the perfect fit?!

But wanna know the best part?  The whole set was only $35.  Yep, that’s it.  35 smackaroos.

Have you found any good flea market or thrift store finds recently?!  Do tell!

There’s been a lot of bloggie chat recently about how amazing Restoration Hardware‘s new look and line of industrial furniture is.  I remember getting the first catalog this summer that unveiled the rough-hewn tables, linen-clad chairs, and metal-based tables, sighing a big in-my-money-tree-dreams sigh, and throwing it on the coffee table for frequent re-visits.  Love love love.


(Fun fact: those fellas on the cover own Bobo Intriguing Objects…amazing reclaimed, repurposed product line.  Brooke Giannetti of a favorite blog Velvet & Linen has a fantastic interview with Bobo co-owner Mark Sage here – check it out!)

Fast forward to last night, when Husband and I were at the mall.  We walked by Restoration Hardware and he suggested we go in.  Yes!!!  I did internal high-fives because he really doesn’t like shopping and he actually wanted to go in the store!!!  It was a very exciting moment for me!  🙂

You see, he has been on the prowl for a leather club chair for his study because my cute lil’ Lee Industries brown houndstooth chair, dubbed Midget Chair for its small stature, wasn’t comfortable and manly enough for him.  Instead, it was happily relegated to the guest room/my office, and his study has been chair-less for about a month.  (In case you’re wondering, that super ugly potential upholstery re-do chair previously in the guest room/my office went the way of Goodwill – scratch that project off the list!)

So in we went.  More sighs from me, and plenty of gentle caresses of the linen slip-covered sofas, buttery leather chairs, and wooden tables.  But what was more unbelievable than the amazing furniture was the fact that actually agreed on almost everything we liked!  And for that, I could give Restoration Hardware a big, wet smooch.

So what are some of the pieces we both loved and were coveting for our own home???  Here goes…

We both walked immediately to this beautiful table and ran our hands over the perfectly uneven and rustic boards.  It had such a comfortable but powerful presence!  We fell in love with this one…but not the $3180 price tag.  😦

the trestle salvaged wood table

the trestle salvaged wood dining table

These beautiful linen, nailhead-trimmed chairs were pulled up to the table and looked just beautiful, creating a soft contrast to the table.  I could totally do one at each end of the table, and a collection of other chairs on the sides.  Or if my pockets were deeper we’d do all 10 in this chair!

nailhead upholstered chair

nailhead upholstered chair

Next we saw this huge and amazing coffee table…we both fell hard for it and could totally see it in our basement media room.  Again, it’s those rough natural boards!  I can’ get enough!  And I love how industrial it is.

the brickmaker's coffee table

the brickmaker's coffee table

Then we saw these super cool task lights with a ring around the shade to make it easy to position where the light shines.  I could totally use one of these as I work on my sketches for class!

the atelier task accent lamp

the atelier task accent lamp

But the piece we both hands down agreed must somehow be purchased and put in our home is actually what we came in to find: a leather club chair for Husband’s study!  I’ve had my eye on this chair forever…and love that he loves it too.  It is SO comfortable and I can’t get over the deep tufts, the nailhead trim, the way it swallows you up when you sit in it.  Perfection.  Except that darn price tag again!!!  Even at the sale price of ~$2600 (chair + ottoman), it’s just too rich for our blood.

the buster chair

the buster chair

(Hey look!  It’s that cute little Atelier Task Lamp next to it!)

I mean, we’re both in full agreement that the Buster Chair is the chair for us…but we can’t possibly drop that kind of money on it.  What to do, what to do?!?!  Now, I know it’s made by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams…but it isn’t on their website…

…and I found a copycat chair on Amazon, but it makes me nervous ordering something we’ve never sat in…


not quite the same...but half the price..

…or we may try to take a roadtrip to Farmville, VA, one of these days to see if they possibly carry it or something very similar in one of the massive warehouses….

Or we could just win the lottery and buy it!  🙂  Any tips on where else to look???

What are you loving at Restoration Hardware these days?

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