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May 31, 2013

We're so much better off than our ancestors.  And I'm not just talking
about electricity, indoor plumbing, and penicillin.  We're lucky that the
popularity of certain decorative items haven't survived . . . .

What is it?!  It's a portion of a hair wreath.
Throughout history family members have preserved a lock of  hair of a loved one, often following their death.  In the mid 19th Century the custom took on a craft-like element by not just saving the hair in a locket but by weaving it into a keepsake.

When Queen Victoria's husband, Albert, died in 1861, she had a piece of jewelry made from his hair which she wore until her death.  The Queen's influence on fashion was profound and women throughout the world imitated her style.  The popularity of hair ornamentation grew and lasted well into the 20th Century.
The circle of braided hair was made in remembrance
of a loved one who died on July 27th, 1866.
Like many art forms, hair mementos became more and more intricate.
Wire and beads were used in the weaving to create intricate designs. 
My grandmother actually had a small wreath of her grandparents' hair
mounted in a shadow box.  It hung on her bedroom wall and kind
of creeped me out when I was a kid.  I never knew what happened
to it when she passed away.  A family heirloom lost forever.
Hard to find outside of museums, hair wreaths were most often
created as part of a memorial, many times for a child.  Seeing
one now makes me sad for the parents.
Unlike other types of antiques, hair wreaths are
not easily duplicated.  If you run across one, it's most likely authentic.  Quite fragile, few survive today and those that do are usually pricey.
If you're out flea-marketing this weekend, keep an eye out for antique hair ornaments and wreaths.  Maybe it's a tradition that shouldn't have faded away. . . . .

May 30, 2013

Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, "Is bigger REALLY better?"

I wouldn't need my glasses to tell the time from across the room.  I like it!

Is this an indoor space with a huge tree or
an outdoor space with small furniture?!

That's quite a coffee table you've got there.

You'd have to be a huge fan of royalty to collect a crown this big.

That's some lamp.

At what point do you decide to hang
mirror or let it stand on the floor?

That's a pretty large wallpaper pattern, isn't it?  Reminds me
of something I saw under the microscope in biology class.

I think you could actually rock climb on this big fireplace.

This subway station print doesn't seem that large
until you consider the size of the acrylic console.


Big letters 'R' so popular now.

Nuevo Estilo
Either those purple hurricane glass lamps are
immense or that's an exceptionally small fireplace.

Pure Home
Obviously, big purple hurricane lamps are trending and no one told me.

Are you a fan of big cats?
Big white sofa?  Big furniture cleaning bill.
What a big black and white scheme for such a small space.
Big impact fruit.
What big stacks of magazines.
(Is that Mickey Mouse in a gas mask?)
That's the biggest glass ping pong table I've ever seen.
Actually, it's the first glass ping pong table I've ever seen.
LOVE the big windows but the jury is out on the panels.
What a big bottle of Chanel for such masculine d├ęcor.
 A nice big collage of . . . . . honestly, I've got nothin'.
So what did we learn today?  I guess BIG is measured in
the eye of the beholder.  Or in the imagination of the owner.

May 29, 2013

It feels like a Before & After Wednesday, doesn't it?

These 1965 Thomasville dining room chairs were given
an updated look with the help of a little paint and fabric:
                           Before                                                      After
Without Fear or Regret
What a deal - this beauty was snatched
up off of Craig's List for only $12!

The next time you have the house to yourself for
a couple of days, this project might inspire you:
   Before                                                                                    After

How many differences?  Let's counts:
                         1.  Uncluttered and removed the corner cupboard
                         2.  replaced the newel post
                         3.  removed the wallpaper and painted
                         4.  stained the stair treads and bannister
                         5.  replaced the foyer flooring and rugs
                         6.  added the amazing chair rail and molding
Yup, that pretty much took the entire weekend!

An innovative paint treatment and contemporary
art work completely changed this bedroom:

What a dramatic transformation for this extended foyer.
Faux windows were created with framed mirrors and
matching art work and consoles are positioned on either side. 

The Interesting Evolution of a Kitchen:
Most of our kitchens have gone through several transformations.
This one progressed from Bland & Boring to City Sophistication.
Dramatic changes aren't limited to just the inside:
  Before                                                              After
The entryway sets the tone of the house and this makeover raised the bar.
From the look of the overgrown ivy, these 'French doors to no
where' were there for quite a while.  It was worth the wait.
  Before                                                                                 After
Painting this house from the washed-out white drastically improved
its appeal.  The professional landscaping was icing on the cake.
The house below is almost unrecognizable after the improvements were complete:
   Before                                                                             After
From a pleasant bungalow to sophisticated farmhouse:
The expanded porch and new roof line make a startling difference.
You know I go weak in the knees for a Mid-Century
Modern re-do and this one is amazing:
Some of the most successful 'flips' happen with MCM houses.
They're one of the best kept secrets in the real estate world.
   Before                                                                          After
A key rule to remember - a restored period home deserves authentic period furniture.