July 26, 2009

Staycation?!................make it good!

Travel is a mainstay of my life. (why is this underlining everything???) But, time and finances are too. When not traveling for business, these days it is at home during the weekends doing paperwork, massive quantities of paperwork. For the moment I would rather dream of having an at home escape, a garden shed.

Love this one. You can hardly call this a garden shed but maybe a magical structure on water, beautifully decorated and enchanting evening garden house.
This is a treasured clients outhouse turned storage shed. Robin's home is an 1870's ish Italianate Victorian and this is the original outhouse. We created the Chicago street brick surround and miniature garden to nestle it within it's surroundings.

This is a 100+ year old writer's space detached from the main house. Wild about the door/window curved paneled feature. Any of these structures become immensely important within the confines of a thoughtful garden.

I could throw on my wellies, lots of sweaters, light the pot belly stove, hot chocolate, dogs, blankets and magazines

Allow your imagination to soar. ANYTHING MADE OF STONE IS SPECTACULAR. Size does not matter, just the details.

This could be the shed of my dreams too. A perfect potting shed set within the vegetable garden.
Look at that door, the triple eight topiaries, the three dimensional design element near the peak and a cupola.

Some, however, I could live in full time

Stay with me here for a moment, we can all do this, really! Lot size does not matter, Daddy Warbucks is not needed...............Let's take your basic shed, one handy man/woman, imagination, paint, a garden or call Scentimental Gardens for all of the above.
Here is what I would do to this poor soul;
  • a tin roof
  • shingle siding
  • painted to match the color scheme of my home
  • remove solid door and replace with french door
  • add a huge window to the left of the door
  • put wooden shutters on windows WITH SHUTTER DOGS
  • window box under big window
  • trellising on the ends (see next photo)
  • add a lantern
  • add climbing roses, boxwood.....
Maybe not all at once, but have a plan...............

Elements can be borrowed from this photo to dress up your shed; trellising over shingles, adds dimension and textural interest. How about trim? This is substantial trim that makes a statement. Personally I favor the color scheme too.

Charmingly simple. The addition of this overhang makes all the difference.

The tin roof, monochromatic color scheme, shutters, small front porch.......

Stone again.....sigh......... unless this was strictly for storage a french door would be swapped out

In England, the private chapel, yesssssss, all estates of merit possessed a private chapel!
Today, it resides as a treasured get-away, with faded chintz down arm chairs, ottomans, a tea trolley, dog bed, lace curtains and magazines. (I made the last part up, can you tell I am longing for England?)

Open air, good views

Take one little underused shed, add flea market found columns, one sign, gardens and voila! A charming outpost.

An urban setting in San Francisco. Imagine this setting, which is quite small, minus the garden shed, what would you have? Yes, a beautiful view in San Francisco, but.............the shed becomes an architectural focal point in addition to the function of a garden cottage.

Could you handle this!? The inside of one woman's shed. Composed of mostly found bits which together create a unique haven.

Conversely, here is a more masculine but cozy interior. Below is the artistry of this special garden house.

Look close, to the left, there is my friend Marsha, covering her face. But she is running, running out of her shed to the approaching tray.
What would summer in the garden be without a little getaway cottage and a bit of Lillet on ice with an orange slice served on a tray?
(Yes Marsha you know I am talking about you xxo)

Remember us, Scentimental Gardens, for all your garden needs


July 19, 2009

Travel Atlanta

Like most urban areas, Atlanta has it's share of neighborhoods, each with a unique vibe. My favorite is VIRGINIA HIGHLANDS, just within sight of downtown. This neighborhood possesses independently owned boutiques, incredible restaurants and charming homes, no cookie cutter look-a-likes or "chains" here.

How about this! Anyone that knows me well knows I am not a big fan of new construction. But...........every once in a while my mind is changed. This new home stopped me in my tracks. and after a while the homeowner came out. Could not hear him but it may have had something to do with wanting to stop me.

Let's examine the details; massive window box extending from edge to edge of the window trim, deep and wide. The natural wood colorway enhances the "rust" tones in the stone.

The window box color also picks up the color of the front door. Repetition of color and patterns are pleasing to the eye. The strong "Hansel and Gretel' theme has factors I love;

-the light fixture is over sized but proportionate to the scale of the home.
-the Tudor inserts all have interesting detail and patterns repeated under the front door side lights.
-the slight upturn at the roof eaves is a touch of whimsy
-the fence! what a fence and it is repeated close up.
-the landscaping enhances without distracting
-the containers and the plantings are perfectly proportioned

Close-up of the details

On a corner lot, here is a shot of the rear/side garden. No detail was left undone with the shed.

A business called Bella Cucina, owned by an visionary woman, has it's flagship store in this neighborhood. Other than the local shop she sells only wholesale; foodstuffs, flavorings and accessories with a Tuscan flavor. Above is a photo of the Tuscan Grill, a new product in the line that grills food over hardwood imparting intense flavors. This item propelled me to jump in and carry a portion of the food and the grills.

Come in for samples, recipes and future parties will include the Tuscan Grill. PS: can also be used indoors in your fireplace!

My favorite restaurant, Parish, in a converted factory. Revel in this New Orleans inspired restaurant, deli and community haven.

Stunning decor. My head is constantly swiveling, the passing dishes and inspired design.

Take a seat at the bar and if you are lucky Christopher Gaither will be at the bar. Christopher will welcome you with southern hospitality warmth and engage you with his witty humor. Allow him to select your wine, Chris hosts the ongoing wine events and is a genius.

(hint, try the J & J grits!)

Note to fellow Chicagoans; the newly opened Wit Hotel at State and Lake has three restaurants by the same group that owns Parish. Can't wait to go, anyone want to go together? Drop me a line!


July 13, 2009

Home again............

Where did the days go? Seems like yesterday (7/5), I was pulling out of my driveway, trailer in tow and a big YAHOOOOO, down the street. If I was not driving I was walking, sometimes 12 hours a day, head swiveling, mind reeling, second guessing..........

Am I any thinner for all this exertion? No! I am doomed...*sigh*....... But, I loved every second and now the fun part, unloading and "tweaking" the shop, tomorrow! Well..............let's rephrase that, I love the process, the S.G. staff must cringe.

This is a brief preview of my "finds"

Most of my finds are in hot and dusty warehouses, like this.

Dusty and dirty but a true treasure hunt! This beauty was created by a craftsman. The top is unseamed metal, all made by hand. the base is a marriage of metal; column and capitol from a building in Washington D.C. My good fortune was seeing it first.

My dear friend Lisa also maintains a warehouse, and maintain they do. "They" being some of my favorite women in the world, including Lindy and Margaret. All three either re-purpose items to clever effect or shop abroad.

This is my favorite find! See the French signs? Originally used as signs advising travelers where the train on the track was headed next. I bought all 15, great en masse or used as serving trays.

A snap of a pair of footstools, horse and mirror all back in Illinois now.

"Miss Cutie-Pie".
This is Lisa holding up an original Paris street scene watercolor I purchased from her.
She may, make that will, want to kill me for posting this, she will scream "but I was working all day in the hot warehouse!" She is a beauty inside and out.........always

This is fun, a Parisian bread server from a cafe. See the crank handle on the right? There were strings that held the bottom tray and as the bread sold a quick turn of the crank brought the bread level with the top. Today, it is a small console or side table with the addition of a glass top.

From David, another master craftsman. An industrial base from a warehouse (the base needs polishing) topped with a gorgeous stone slab from Europe. Love how he chiseled the edges. Great indoors or out.

This scene is the warehouse of Glennis and Marlene, lovely, lovely deeply spiritual and talented women.

And besides.............they are sooooo thoughtful! Having read my Eddie Ross story about the Pimms Cup, Glennis being British was excited that an American knew about Pimms , bought a bottle and presented it in a beautiful pink pitcher.
And............oh my!!!! included a bottle of Amarula for a night cap, along with magazines (my addiction). Have any of you heard of this? The amarula nut, favored by elephants, grows in South Africa. Apparently the pachyderms love to over indulge and become quite drunk. I resisted that scenario but if you like 'Bailey's Irish Cream', this is ten-fold.

Last, but not least, is my husband Steve.
When my trip is complete, he flies down, loads and secures my treasures and drives all the way home. I know......he is a really nice guy.
As you can see, Steve loves every bit of this................just thought I would share my view every time I looked over!

next post, some of the new finds from the gift show

July 4, 2009

"On the road again......."

Finally!!!! It is that time, my bi-annual "hit the trail" antiquing road trip

Hook up the trailer and head south. Part of the fun is seeking out the back roads, finding uncharted territory and also catching up with old friendships fostered over the years.

Signs like this make my heart race, the thrill of the hunt. "Will this new spot have what I am searching for?" Better yet, "At a rock bottom price?"

Places like this can only be found on the back roads, pure nostalgia, It beckons to me, childhood memories fondly roar back.

Not all is found by happenstance. Years of hunting and gathering fostered friendships I treasure. Here you are getting a sneak peek of what is pre-bought and "coming home" with me.

The photo above shows a scalloped architectural fragment; perfect as a headboard, valance, crafted into a mantle face..............thanks Lindy!

This was a grabber. Charming French settee, circa 1920, newly upholstered. Thanks Glennis!

This is rare, a set!
So, what we have here is a French table top over 200 years old. The base was too rough and an artisan came in to craft a new base, add the chairs and Voila! A French styled farm table. My love of these is the narrow top, ideal for conversation. Add bottles of a good Cab, imported cheeses, baguettes, candlelight and friends............
Thanks Glennis and Marlene!

Oooops, that is sister Diane. Hmmm, not happy, sister is angry, angry at herself. Forgot about the trip and booked friends to come in from out of town. "It's ok sister, another time!"

Well, back on the road again..............

See ya'll soon!
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