Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Yesterday, the Christmas spirit finally arrived!  I drove down to my friend Jill's new home to visit and go shopping in Greenville. Knowing her Christmas routine very well ( 35 years of friendship), I took my camera along to capture some "in-progress" Christmas décor.  I wasn't disappointed!

Nostalgia is a powerful thing.  As I watched Jill creating her first Christmas vignettes in her new home, memories came flooding back.  As each little element was added, we would remember where it had been purchased throughout the past 35 years.  It seems that so many of them were purchased together at Christmas open houses, antique stores and of course, Marshall Fields and Romancing the Home.   One of our favorite rituals was to attend the day after Thanksgiving Christmas open house at Kimball and Bean.  We would fill up the car with new goodies- oh so much fun. 

The new 10 foot tree - flocked with snow- beginning to be filled with ornaments in blues and natural tones.   Gonna need a big ladder for the top!

The massive stone fireplaces looking amazing with greenery, feathers and magnolias.

 The center of the mantle is a cornucopia of a past favorite- a rhinestone embellished tumble weed from Romancing the Home - and new finds from Biltmore Village in Asheville last week!
I love the blue feather boa in the mix.

Sitting on the hearth- a vignette of glittered reindeer with fur collar and a very special handmade
Santa from Romancing the Home!  The little bird with the crown on the antique wood box is a find from this year!  

Ready for a fire, a glass of wine  and a few presents to open!

Another handmade Santa from Romancing the Home in past years.
He is all settled in next to his reindeer.

On to the kitchen to find this sweet display.  A wonderful French Santa made by Dee Gann and purchased at an open house at Kimball and Bean. 
And those bronze ferns- another Romancing the Home find- used to soften the setting. 
Sugared pomegranates show up for another encore Christmas too!

The two Santas are placed on a tartan cloth and stand in front of a beautiful pine buffet
with the menu from Jill's daughter's wedding last year.

Velvet fruit- one of the first items sold at Romancing the Home in 1997. It was a gorgeous collection of velvet grapes, apples, plums, pears and we sold hundreds of pieces.  The iced cabbages, another winning item at Romancing the Home.  We sold out and couldn't get enough! And then another great item. the velvet pumpkins  from Hot Skwash. This year they have added feathers to the stems.
Jill found them in Denver, while visiting her sister.

Another Dee Gann Santa from Kimball and Bean. A rhinestone embellished pear from Romancing the Home is mixed in with old pewter to create a countertop display!

Whew!  And she is just beginning to decorate- This is only the beginning of 2 rooms!
I hope to share a completely decorated home with you in a few weeks!

We left the decorating behind and headed out to Greenville. 
After all, we have to make new memories too!
Off to find more Christmas décor-

After a successful shopping trip, I headed  back to Asheville to get dressed for the Biltmore Estate Candle Light Celebration.  Driving up to the front of the grand  house, Christmas magic over comes you.   A heavy rain had just ended and the sky turned pink. 
Under the magnificent sky,  Biltmore House and it's big tree glowed brightly! 

Yes, the Christmas spirit has certainly arrived!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Building my Home- New Details Every Day!

It's getting intense now----Last week I had to visit the house building site on three different occasions- to solve a sconce placement issue, to okay the parking area in the front of the house and something else which I now have forgotten!  It all is blurring together! But every visit, something new surprised me.

My old antique door- hauled here from Chicago- was installed as the door to the conservatory!
I love it's old beveled glass inserts and old wood patina-

The fireplace in the dining hall was built with Doggett Mountain stone and  beams that were
harvested from an old barn.  The large mossy stone in the center was found in the yard of our project manager.  He unearthed it and brought it to me for approval and of course I loved it!
I wish the moss would stay forever, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts!

The fireplace on the screened porch.  Again the header was found in our project manager's yard!

Large arched beams were delivered for the gathering room.  They were fabricated by Appalachian Hardwoods in Waynesville, NC of reclaimed Montana snow fencing.  They have this beautiful soft gray color and weathered patina from years of  holding the blowing snow off the Montana freeways.

 They used the same material to fabricate the 5 beams that will cross the dining hall ceiling.

A pair of old oak library doors are installed on barn door hardware to hide the laundry and craft room on the lower level.  I hate oak, but these have such a beautiful old patina that I might just leave them.  My original thought was to paint them a peacock blue lacquer.  I will have to ponder this a while! Meanwhile the lower level library is getting a coat of the peacock blue lacquer paint and I do love it.

This week will bring other exciting details to decide on- the master fireplace and what type of cobblestone pavers for the driveways.  And then of course there is Thursday- Turkey Day- so I must share with you a picture that I took on Thursday  of my plentiful new neighbors-

These two birds were accompanied with 5 other ones! 
On Tuesday, Jay and I ran into a flock of 14 turkeys.  
Yes, I am sure they will be happy when Thursday is over! 
They can quit running-

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2016

New House Updates

It seems that everyday something exciting is happening at the construction site.  This past week countertops were chosen.  Since the cabinets were installed last week, the fabricator met me on site to measure for the countertops this week.  What an intense walk-through!  I have installed marble and granite before, but I must say that this was the most detailed measurement process that I have ever witnessed.  Edge details, counter height versus stove height, faucet positions, sink positions, honed or not honed, thickness of counter, back splash or no back splash- wow!  My head was spinning when I left.  Four hours of  making my brain work hard- I am simply not used to it.  I left with a headache.

Prep kitchen cabinets ready for ovens and dishwasher.  A dark grey limestone countertop will be used in this room.  It matches the gray in the porcelain floor perfectly.

 Dark gray cabinets will flank the matt black French range and frame it against the stone wall.
The dark grey limestone will be used on these counters.

Master bath- gets white honed marble counters.

  The craft and laundry room has 2 large work surfaces- over 10 feet each.  Originally it was going to have black quartz- man made counters.  But I learned this week that leathered black absolute granite was a much less costly choice.  Who would have guessed?  So, black leathered granite it is!

 My favorite stone- a leathered quartzite - called Victoria Falls- is the choice for the kitchen island and sink area.  Quartzite is resistant to acid etches- lemons, limes, tomatoes, etc making it more durable than granite.  This particular one has a soft white and grey color in a subtle soothing pattern. The leathering process makes it look antiqued and weathered.

The 8 inch white oak floors were installed this week.  They will be finished to a soft gray dull finish.
The supplier roughed up the board's surfaces just enough to give it an antique appearance.

Showers are getting tiled this week too!

But my favorite happening of the week----

The French hotel doors from my friend Linda D. and lovingly painted by Laurell for me-
were framed in and installed this week.  There are five of them in this vestibule on the lower level and it really does feel like you are in a Paris boutique hotel. Our trim guy- Chad- was masterful at creating the frame around the door.  All of the trim will be painted dark gray to blend with the doors.

 And finally-

The large boulder wall got built this week.  Now fill dirt can be brought in and the driveway completed.  Now it's off to select cobblestone pavers to finish the job!

It's about 12 weeks away from moving in- 12 crazy weeks for sure.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Details on Building a House

We are down to the final 12 weeks before we can actually move in to our new home.  It seems that all the fun details are beginning to happen and it is so much fun to watch! 

One of the biggest engineering projects has been to design a 15 foot high retaining wall that will
ultimately hold the dirt that will become our driveway into the garage!  Finally this week, huge sandstone blocks arrived and were put into place forming a tall wall.  It should be finished this week, so that next week we can install garage doors!

The conservatory stone wall was completed and the 12 foot windows were trimmed out.
Final step is to grout the floor and that happens today!

 The crown molding installation is moving along nicely and
  has been primed to it's gauntlet grey color. 

This window shows the intricate trim that the architect designed around the windows. It really makes a big difference in the overall height of the windows.  This particular window is 45 inches off the floor to accommodate the  long slender cabinet below.
This Italian cabinet will house chargers and serving pieces.

 The man cave for my husband- lovingly named the "Fly Shop" as it will store many fly rods and flies for his fly fishing passion.   The room is filled with light and opens on to a lower level deck.
The river is next to the deck- a tempting scene for a man with a fly rod!

Simple wood floors have been installed on the lower level and are waiting for their
4 coats of high gloss white lacquer paint!  I purchased the beautiful grey and gold doors from my friend Linda D. .  They came from a hotel in Paris and were white when we got them.  My friend Laurell lovingly painted them grey and enhanced the gold details for me.  I chose hardware for them yesterday from the greatest store-"Bella" in Asheville.  Chad, our trim guy, will build door jams and install them soon. 
Unlacquered brass knob and back plate will be used on all the gray doors on the lower level.


My bathroom cabinets arrived and have been installed. 
We are now waiting for countertops, hardware and sinks.

Jay's knotty alder sink base in a light gray tone works great with the marble floor.
The brushed nickel sink will be installed in Jay's vanity along with this unusual faucet!

 The front of the kitchen island in the deep gray color.  Now I need to make a decision on honed white marble or quartzite for the top.
Waxed polished brass hardware will look great on the dark gray color.
It is all the details that come together that give the home a personality.  We have such talented
tradesmen working on the house- each with a real pride in the their work.  I feel fortunate to work with these highly respected professionals and am truly enjoying the process.  While I am looking forward to moving in to the house, it is the building of the home that I enjoy the most!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Chicago Wedding - Rustic and Glam

We are just returning from a weekend in Chicago.  We attended the wedding of the daughter of one of our dear friends.

It was held at the Chez Venue on Ontario Street in the city.  The venue was transformed into a magical fantasy of gauzy  pinks, deep purples and candlelight. The fun vibe of rustic versus glam kept you engaged with the décor details all evening.

Entering the space, guests walked by a large menu board framed in barn wood. 
 Table assignments were listed for the attendees.

Yards and yards of pink chiffon divided the cocktail area from  the ceremony space.

The décor was a mix of rustic and glam - thus this fun mirrored bar!

The ceremony setting-

I loved this mix of romantic and modern lighting over the ceremony-
 romantic for the bride and modern for the groom!

The music begins and the bride appears- glowing - like an angel-

In an all lace gown and a bouquet of David Austin roses and dinner plate zinnias,
 Sarah was stunning.

The dinner tables were layered with soft pink sequined clothes and a profusion of flowers and
crystal candlelight.

Love the festive menu card! Fun and bubbly like the bride's personality.

One of my favorite touches- butter in parsley for the hot bread.

And as a finish to the delicious meal- one of the best wedding cakes that I have ever tasted!
It was a dream wedding- thoughtfully detailed and a true pleasure to attend!
Congratulations Sarah and Christian! 
May you live happily ever after!