Country Living magazine never ceases to surprise me. It is never the first magazine I pick up, however, when I do pick it up, I am never disappointed. Case in point, this month’s issue features a quaint 18th century cottage from my own hometown of Darien, CT. I definitely plan on going to scope this one out when I am back up north for Thanksgiving. According to the article, the house was built around 1780 (same as my house!) in Kenyon, Rhode Island. In the early 2000′s it was rescued from demolition by a preservation minded architect. The architect did not want to see the house destroyed, so instead he disassembled the house and numbered each piece for it to be rebuilt at another site. Although this may sound a bit crazy to my non-preservationist readers out there, it is actually quite common. In these cases, the smaller and more simplified the house, the better, however, it has been done to much larger houses as well. This little girl is very lucky to have everyday contact with history through the exposed timber framing in her walls and ceiling. Even the bathroom in this historic cottage is charming with its terra cotta floors and 18th century painted doorway. Perhaps there is a house in your hometown you would like to save from demolition?
I’m sure that most of you saw the article in T magazine this weekend about the new book Howard Slatkin’s Fifth Avenue Style. The book features pictures of Slatkin’s Fifth Avenue apartment, which he painstakingly renovated and decorated.
The book features a number of beautiful table settings, and a truly fascinating section on the service rooms in the apartment. After last week’s posts on china cabinets and china rooms, as well as some of the service rooms at The Breakers in Newport, I’m sure you can understand that I was extremely interested in this particular section of Slatkin’s book. Slatkin’s apartment features a silver cabinet, a flower room, and a candle room. Now I would never have thought about installing a candle room in an apartment, however, Slatkin’s brother and sister in law founded the candle company Nest – so it makes sense that he has an overabundance of candles to store.
Here is the silver closet. Slatkin has lined every shelf of the closet with tarnish resistant fabric, which minimizes the need to polish before every use. Not only do I absolutely love the cabinet – but look at all his beautiful silver. The flower room. Slatkin believes that having a dedicated flower room is a “great convenience.” He enjoys being out of the way of the kitchen and having everything that he needs for arranging at his fingertips. On the inside door of the flower room, Slatkin has a board on which he posts pictures of past arrangements he has made that he felt were successful so that he can be inspired while he is arranging flowers. I think this is a great idea. Slatkin does this both with flower arrangements and table settings … I may have to follow his lead on that one.
Photos courtesy of The Vendome Press
Last year I hosted my first Thanksgiving. I had a blast planning the table scape really far in advance and picking everything myself. This year, we’re going back up north to be with my family in Connecticut, and yesterday my mother and I started talking about planning her table scape. My mother said that this year she wanted to go for a more “natural” look on the Thanksgiving table – maybe even a little rustic. As we were discussing all the pieces, I suggested that she go online and check out some moderately priced things from World Market. Well you can imagine my surprise when she said, “what’s World Market?”. World Market is great, it can be hit or miss, but often has some great little finds for low prices. Simple glassware, for instance, is great at World Market – baskets, napkins – the list goes on. So today I thought I would try and piece together my mother’s rustic/natural Thanksgiving table with some finds from World Market. First, the Ivory Hotel Linen Tablecloth as a base. Then, add Driftwood Chargers.Place the Nantucket Plates atop the Driftwood Chargers … And add the Parchment Hemstitch Napkins. The Danieli Flatware gives a homegrown rustic feel to the table.Followed by some Tortoiseshell glassware for the water.Perhaps a Madras Oval Basket for the bread … And a Wood Bark Pedestal Stand for your Pumpkin Pie! And voila – a rustic table courtesy of World Market. Click on the photos to be redirected to the World Market website. Happy Thanksgiving table scaping!
After posting that photo of the butler’s pantry at The Breakers yesterday, I was inspired to show you a little bit more of the house. If you have not visited The Breakers, and you have an occasion to go to Newport or live in New England, I highly suggest you visit this property. If you do not want to visit the museum, the exterior of the house is visible from Newport’s Cliff Walk. Commissioned by Cornelius Vanderbilt II, and designed by Richard Morris Hunt, The Breakers is by far the grandest of the Newport Mansions. Completed in 1895, the house has 70 rooms, such as a library, great hall, billiard room, music room, dining room – the list goes on. Owned by several generations of the Vanderbilt family until 1972, today The Breakers is owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County and is open to the public. Below, a little taste of the 16th century palazzo inspired manse.
Photos courtesy of Historic Structures
Hello everyone. I’m sorry for the last couple weeks of radio silence, I had been working on something on my end that I will be able to tell you all about very soon! Today I wanted to talk about china storage. You have listened to me talk about china in the post China Tales, see here, but I haven’t discussed where to keep it. This weekend I went on a re-organization binge to determine the best way to store my china, linens, and silver. Let’s just say the project is not finished, and I may have to add some shelves inside my sideboard. While in the midst of this project all I could think about was how lovely it would be to have a large butlers pantry or china room that could store everything in an organized fashion – like Martha Stewart’s butler’s pantry above. A girl can dream, right?
This is a picture of Bunny Williams china room in her house in the Dominican Republic. Now let’s be honest, the amount of china, silver, and linens that I have would not even fill a single cabinet in this room, but what a dream to walk in and have everything on display providing instant table setting inspiration. And finally, this is the butler’s pantry at The Breakers, in Newport Rhode Island. Completed in 1895 for Cornelius Vanderbilt II and designed by Richard Morris Hunt, The Breakers is one of the more famous Newport mansions where entertaining was part of everyday life. This butlers pantry has a mezzanine, meaning it offers two stories of storage for china. Note the single pane glass fronted cabinets that would allow staff to locate china quickly and easily. It is also interesting to recognize that the cabinetry in the butler’s pantry goes all the way to the floor, which was very common at the turn of the century. Today, most kitchen cabinetry has a recessed kick plate at its base. We don’t have a need for a china room such as this one anymore, as we no longer have the number of staff to manage storage such as this. However, these rooms still exist in historic homes throughout the world, and offer a glimpse into another time. All I need is a couple extra shelves.
Photos courtesy of House Beautiful, Martha Stewart, and Historic Structures.