Friday, October 7, 2016

Building A Home- Down to the Finishes

After 2 years of planning and selecting materials for our new home, it is finally time to see them  installed.  Doors, window trim, crown molding, stone walls and tile flooring is all happening at the same time!  

                                                                    From the month of April -

To the month of October!  What a difference 5 months make!
The roof is a faux slate- made of recycled automobile tires!  Very green and lasts forever!
The pile of stone in front of the house is getting laid next week on the center section of the house and
over all the windows and doors.   Rustic shutters will frame the windows on the outside.

2 months ago!

Today- foam insulation, drywall and priming of paint complete!

Trimming of the windows and doors has begun-

The larder and scullery floor is laid  on the diagonal making  the room seem bigger than it did last week!
This small kitchen will be used to store food, prep food and store and  clean up dishes.
It is adjacent to the dining hall which is used for cooking and entertaining.

We are so fortunate to have the best tradesmen . 
These guys are experts at laying the tile perfectly.
Here they are "deep" grouting the stone in order to preserve
the antique chiseled edge of the
ancient stone floor. 

Shades of grey, white, and tan make-up the shades in the Versailles pattern layout.

Adjacent to the  entertaining and cooking kitchen is a conservatory for growing herbs and plants.
The walls are stone- the same stone that will be used on the front of the house.  This stone will also be used behind the French Lacanche range in the kitchen area - creating a Tuscan farmhouse vibe.

Gray and white marble for my bathroom.  An air jet tub will sit in front of the window that looks out to the river and forest.  My closet is beyond the tile floor and has a 12 foot window inside of it.
My husband has his bath adjoining this one.  A his and her bath is a luxury that I have enjoyed  for
30 years and I think it adds much happiness to a marriage!

The lower level laundry and craft room floor.   A home office will be set up in the
niche with a 9 foot long black quartz countertop and files underneath. 
 Perfect for crafting or paying bills. This room will also have a refreshments bar for guests with
a refrigerator filled with wine and soft drinks, plus a coffee bar.

I am so excited about this bath.  Black and white marble flooring will be joined by this gorgeous sink.
The walls will be black marble, creating a 1930's deco feel.  Unlacquered polished brass fixtures will be used in the black marble shower.

The second guest bath is white marble also with unlacquered brass fixtures.  A 8 foot  long white marble counter will provide guests with plenty of space to spread out.
Wood flooring arrives next week!  We meet with landscapers next week to get the initial plan going.
With so many decisions every day, it is really keeping us busy. I am going to miss this process when this home is complete. It is one of the most challenging and fulfilling tasks in my life. I have learned so much.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Art of Making a Bed

My friend Jill just moved into her gorgeous new home in Traveler's Rest, South Carolina.  You might have seen pictures of it on previous editions of my blog.  Three of our girl friends from Chicago were arriving last weekend  to spend a girl's weekend with us at Jill's new home.  Time to make the beds!!!!!!!!!

Four new beds, four new mattresses, four new mattress pads, four new sets of sheets, and four new bed covering ensembles had arrived in time for the weekend!   Treating your guests to a luxurious nights sleep on silky soft sheets and brand new mattresses is like staying at a four star resort!  And Jill overachieved this task!

First bed- a dreamy gilded wood frame with a gray velvet upholstery- yummy from Horchow!  King sized and so comfortable with a new memory foam mattress, it is dressed in a white embroidered duvet and shams and  Bella Notte pillows. Snuggle up in the  faux fur that has been artfully draped across the corner.

The sun streams into this bedroom early in the morning from the French doors that lead to a terrace- perfect for morning coffee! 

Close up detail of the embroidery on the white duvet and shams.  It was a wonderful find at HomeGoods.  It will have to do until the Bella Notte satin duvet  and over sized shams arrive next month!

Jill placed fresh roses in every guest room.

Every bedroom has it's own bath, which she supplied with luxury soaps, lotions and towels.
Walk in  marble showers with luxury shower heads await each guest.

Next up- an iron canopy bed from Restoration Hardware- dressed in a linen coverlet and linen shams, accented with leopard.   A tartan settee sits by the window.  In winter, the bed will be dressed in tartans in shades  of black, white and red.  A luggage rack- a thoughtful gesture- sits at the end of the bed- also purchased at Restoration Hardware.

It's adjoining bath has a delightful polished nickel and marble console sink,
A bath tub and shower combination is in this bath- the tub to bath Jill's grandbabies- soon to be three!

Bedroom number three- another great bed from Restoration Hardware.  
Tufted linen headboard and foot board are on iron feet. 

Gray velvet Bella Notte bedding graces the bed.  This silk bedding  is so soft and comfortable and washes beautifully.  It is over a linen coverlet.

Next up- the grand daddy bed of all time- a four poster beauty from Ebanista!  With it's four posters soaring high into the air, it is the perfect choice for the master bedroom with 20 foot ceilings!

Satin embroidered Bella Notte duvet and shams are mixed with
a gray silk coverlet and throw pillows from Designer's Guild. 

The Ebanista bed has a taupe velvet insert and French nail heads.

A close up of the poster details- a soft gray paint accented with a platinum gilded detail.

And of course- the adjoining bath.  Honed slabs of white marble are laid in the Versailles pattern.
An air jet soaker tub sits at the end of the bath under a beautiful chandelier.
This home is truly a wonderful place to stay.  With guest rooms on the lower level and private bathrooms for each, each guest can have their own privacy .
As a side note-----
It was funny to hear the girls ask Jill how she made the bed sheets so tight!
Jill is the master of making a bed tight and perfect.  While I was helping her make a bed one evening, she taught me how to make a hospital corner.  Her mother was a nurse and taught her this technique many years ago. 
I found this You Tube video that demonstrates the technique.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Pumpkin Time!

Fall signals its arrival with a fantastic variety of pumpkins at the Western North Carolina Farmer's Market.  I love this market. It is open every day of the week and showcases a great selection of seasonal produce. Spices and herbs, jellies and jams, smoked meats and cheeses, nuts and bread mixes are also abundant.

Located in the back of the market on the lower level, during the fall a sea of pumpkins delight your eye.  I went with my friend Jill to purchase some for her front porch.

Every color - green, grayish green, peach, white, orange.
These particular white ones are flat- almost like a flying saucer.
I  chuckle when I hear the names of some of these varieties of  pumpkins- like the "lunch ladies" above! Or another name like- "one too many", named for the  farmer that imbibed a bit too much bourbon and  developed a pumpkin that looks like a blood shot eyeball.

"Snake- like" gourds- not for me!

 These nubby little guys are called "knuckleheads"!
My favorite!

Back to Jill's house with our stash!  Look at the huge white pumpkin-
I have never seen a white pumpkin as large as this one.
Bundles of bittersweet are tucked in to add to the charming  fall display.
Even though fall doesn't officially start until next week, we are ready for it.
The leaves changing in the Carolina mountains- we are looking forward to it!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Southern House Warming Gift

Moving to the South brings an entirely new experience to culinary endeavors. Having grown up in rural Virginia, I was quite familiar with the customs and traditions of good old Southern cooking.  In the South, we don't eat to live--  we live to eat!   My dear friends- the Millers-  moved into their new southern home a couple of weeks ago.  Last night was the first dinner party in their home.  What a delight to watch the entire family around the massive kitchen island- chopping and chatting!  It is a culinary dream come true- complete with a professional Wolf range, Wolf steam oven, ice maker, large Sub Zero refrigerator, plus Sub Zero freezer drawers in the island!  A dish pantry, a crystal cupboard and lot's of storage are available to fill with more dishes than anyone could ever imagine! This kitchen is obviously the heart of the home.  I promise more pictures of this gorgeous kitchen very soon..  but today is about the perfect southern house warming gift for a very dear friend-
So what to bring as a southern style housewarming gift to the girl that has more antique dishes, crystal and silver than she could ever possibly need?  More antique dishes, more silver and more southern culinary treats of course! After all, we are in the south-
Starting with a great silver tray that I found at Vintageville in Biltmore Village, I began to gather culinary treats to fill it's surface.  Hendersonville, NC proved to be quite fruitful in this quest.  They have several antique stores that are great- Jane's on Main Street and Village Green,  a large antique mall, a couple of doors up the street.  I had a blast there- gathering all sorts of treasures. I didn't want the day to end.

The first thing that I spotted as I walked into Jane's was a silver server and fork with JM initials.  I could not believe my eyes- my friend's initials in a beautiful script!
These would be perfect for serving pies or cake or even fish!  

 Several doors down at the Village Green antique mall, these beautiful cobalt blue and gold lace filigree plates had stopped me in my tracks.  A must have- perfect to go with Jill's flo-blue collection and the perfect plate to serve a piece of southern pie!  A theme was beginning to emerge.

 In the back of the store, a dealer had neatly tied up lots of vintage silver in bundles. Scouring through the big tray of silver, I could not believe my eyes- ice cream forks!  Did you ever try to decide whether to use a fork or a spoon for a ice cream accompanied dessert?  This little utensil solves the problem- you can easily eat your pie and your ice cream too!
 The bowl of the spoon was detailed with a beautiful embossed detail- so pretty.
Silver is a very southern thing to me.  When I got married, we received 17 silver trays for gifts- most of them monogrammed.  Silver candle sticks, revere bowls, silver casseroles were received as well  People in the south use their silver. My mother in law kept her sterling in the kitchen drawer and used it every day.  Jill and I have talked a lot about using our beautiful things everyday and not tucking them away.  I think she will actually do it in this home!
Also in the tray of flatware, another treasure- citrus spoons.  With a pointed tip and a deeper bowl, you can easily dig into a grapefruit half and take out the fruit.

Notice the monogram- another southern favorite detail. 
 I am not sure if it is an S or a J- it really doesn't matter. I am buying them anyway!

 Next it was on to the Sage Gourmet in downtown Hendersonville to look for a basic Southern cookbook  and I found it! From cornbread to grits, everything is covered!
While browsing the store, I spotted this smoked Carolina honey! 
Perfect for a hard cheese or a pork tenderloin!
 Bourbon Smoked Pepper- another fun find for the gift.
Then it was time to go home and assemble the gift.  I  purchased several magazines about Autumn in the South, Table Settings  and Fall baking to tie up and place on the tray.  The silver serving set was polished and tied with hand dyed French seam binding and a Carolina turkey feather.

 Same ribbon for the ice cream forks too!
Next I tucked in the plates, some feathers, acorns and the adorable velvet pumpkin and velvet corn from Hot Skwash that I found at another great gift store in Hendersonville- Benson Bab Interiors.
The velvet corn has real corn shucks for the topper.
The blue velvet will be the perfect accent color for the living room.

Tucked in the food products-

 I made another trip to the flower farm in Mills River to get a bucket of dahlias for the Millers- the perfect autumn flower and they are just glorious now!

I was told by the ladies at the antique mall, that the best Apple Pie in Henderson County was at
Coston's apples.  When leaving the flower farm, we drove to the orchard and purchased an apple pie made with Honey Crisp apples to place under the crystal pie dome from Horchow.  In the past , people stored pies in pie safes or screened cupboards. 
 I think this crystal pie dome is more fitting for Jill's new kitchen.

                         Finally assembled, it is time to cellophane wrap the entire tray!

With the dahlias in fresh water and ready to travel-

The tray wrapped and tied with a bow and feathers-
I had so much fun assembling this gift that I am sorry that it is finished.

Time for Autumn in the South at the Miller's new home!  
I hope that I am invited back for pie!