Tuesday, October 30, 2007

English Style Continued!

All pictures Southern Accents

Yesterday, I had mentioned how the English style is prevalent here in the South. This morning, I was going through my archives of Southern Accents looking for information on Louisville and came across this article from last year--the May-June 2006 issue. This brought back memories, as soon as I read this article last year; I tore the dining room pictures out in hopes of creating that look someday! I then immediately ordered the Damask (the St Antoine) wallpaper samples from Farrow-Ball. With my existing color scheme, I was always torn between doing the green or gold. Needless to say, we have moved since I was plotting this and my current dining room has been put on hold. So this will stay in my file of dining rooms I love!

Came out of my files as you can see!

Back to the English style, to me, this is a perfect example of that inviting English touch in the South. Plus the house, actually it’s a plantation, (White Hall Plantation) located in one of my favorite places, the Low Country of South Carolina.

Southern Accents

Also, I wanted to let you know that the other day I was talking to Cruella and she had told me she was holding the new Victoria magazine in her hand. I thought this was just a rumor, but sure enough she has a copy in her hand. I have not seen the issue yet. I did however look them up on the Internet. Sure enough, there they were. I discovered Victorian Magazine in 2000 when I first started my endeavor in the antiquing world and found they always had interesting articles on charming cities-- London, Savannah, Charleston, Santa Fe, to name a few. What’s more, they published features on designers such as Charlotte Moss, Myra Hoefer etc. Aditionally, they ran articles on antiques, suggested great shops, gave entertaining ideas, and wrote articles on women entrepreneurs. And of course, there was the calling cards section, which I always loved.

At end of the magazine, they would feature a spot on Collecting. Since I am talking about creating that cozy, inviting English look. One collecting article that was written in 2001 that I would like to share with you is on shop owner Debbie Weitz, owner of B.D. Jeffries. When I think of great English things, her shop always comes first to my mind. Who else would have such a great collection of Tartan!

Picture from Victoria 2001

Monday, October 29, 2007

Creating That Cozy English Look!

Having such a huge love for design, my taste runs from classic traditional with a twist, to French Provencal, to the warm and inviting English country look. Currently, here in Nashville, with the weather turning cold, the days becoming shorter and the leaves starting to fall, I’m thinking it’s time for a little of the cozy English countryside look. I’m starting to have visions of sitting by our limestone fireplace while sipping on Port. This gives me a chance to talk about my next love, the English, and how the English look is very prevalent here in the old South.

Picture from The English Room

Being in the antiquing trade, I often traveled to the United Kingdom to shop for my inventory. When I say buying trip, it is not what people seem to think. Most of my friends thought I was going to the shops throughout London, and having tea at the Ritz-Carlton. In actuality, it means getting up at 4:30 a.m., getting to the market with my backpack stuffed with my calculator, money, and water. No time for instant coffee at the B&B. Both markets that I attend are located on farms, and there is definitely livestock. Consequently, if you don’t like the mud, it’s best to stay in London on Portabella Road, where many antiques shops, along with cute little restaurants, are located, but you should increase your budget accordingly! Once arriving at the markets, the energy is very high. If you’re there to browse, you’re going to get stampeded.

However, things do calm down, and by mid morning the Englishmen are having their pints. So it’s critical that you get there early because they’re napping by noon. Also, most of the dealers are set up in tents—at least the ones I buy from. While at the market, I would buy barley twist candles sticks, stools, eiderdown quilts, tea caddies, boxes, biscuit barrels, rose bowls, transfer ware, dog prints. Of course, provided I had any pounds left, I would bring the hubby back a Cadbury bar or two and Rolle a collar or some treats from Harrods duty free shop!

One I was able to keep!

I would highly recommended Nancy Lancaster English Country House Style. I bought this two years ago when it first came out and it’s been a great source for me. Also, I would recommend The English Room which I also have and enjoy reading.

Nancy Lancaster English country House Style

The English Room

Tomorrow, I will share with you another magazine that is being re-launched and a couple of stores that have always inspired me in terms of achieving that English country style!

The English Room

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Visions Of A Ghostly Soirée

I was going to write a wee more about Charleston today, but with the Trick-or
Treaters coming next week and with the weather here in Nashville cold and rainy it’s actually starting to feel a lot like Halloween!

This is our first Halloween in our neighborhood and we have heard through all of our neighbors that we will be swamped with kids. This is great news, especially after last year, I bought several bags of candy, the good stuff too, and not one single kid--I gained five pounds (where are those kids when you want them). The hubby and I are going out of town next week and we decided to stay over Halloween so we could pass out candy and perhaps have a few neighbors over for cocktails and appetizers. So with all that, I’ve been thinking of maybe doing just a few little extra touches. Just a few!

What comes to my mind is Carolyne Roehm’s “ Spooky Soirée” that she did for her book A Passion For Parties. I know I won’t be able to do this next week, but I love it! (When I love something I always store it away) I love absolutely everything she did in order to create her soiree, excellent color choices, not your typical black and orange, the candelabra with black candles and the cute black widow spider cakes! Plus, to me the party is kid friendly but also sophisticated for adults. She said she was inspired by a Charles Dickens’s novel-- Great Expectation -- Miss Havisham’s decaying banquet room.

Love everything!

Cute black widow spider cakes!

I highly admired Carolyne Roehm for her creative talent, hard work, excellent taste, and, most importantly, her passion. You can tell she truly loves what she is doing. All her books are well-designed, filled with beautiful photos and lots of inspiration. One of her first books that I picked up was her Summer Notebook; next came, At Home with Carolyne Roehm; then, A Passion for Flowers. Also, I bought A Passion for flowers for Cruella last year for Xmas. When Cruella is not busy antiquing, she tends to live in her garden from early March until mid-May, so I thought this would be most fitting!

A few months ago for my husband’s birthday, which was on Labor Day, I did a BBQ type theme. One of the things I used were the mason jars for tea -which I had seen in At Home With Carolyne Roehm. Everyone thought I was clever. I said no, I just know the best books to use!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Charleston On My Mind!

After writing about the Lee Bros. yesterday, I cannot get Charleston off my mind! Five years and 27 days ago, my husband and I sold our house in Atlanta, loaded up our moving truck, packed up our basset hound, and headed to a beautiful historic city for a simpler life. A city where we could walk and walk and discover something new and beautiful everyday. Which is exactly what we did! We moved to Charleston on September 27th, just in time for the Charleston Fall Home & Gardens Tour. Perfect planning!

Which is one of the reasons for my blog today – I wanted to let you know that the Charleston Fall Tour of Home & Garden is still going on until Sunday, October 28th. If you have a chance and need an escape for a few days I highly recommend going. I would go but the hubby and I are heading to another great Southern city next week, one that we’ve never been to before—Louisville, KY. Plus, fall is the perfect time for the Home And Garden Tour; the temperature becomes almost tolerable. Most importantly, it is a great chance to see inside some beautiful old homes.

Following is a small excerpt from my journal that I wrote last year. Perhaps, you’ll be convinced to jump in your Mini Cooper and head to the Low Country—don’t forget to try some she-crab soup!

While in Charleston, I started helping a friend of mine with his antiques store. This was perfect, as he took the morning shift and I took the afternoon shift. We had a beneficial arrangement. I was able to go on my buying trips, do my monthly weekend show, and use his shop for my office. What’s more, he would let me decorate and put some of my inventory in his shop! I was able to walk everyday to the shop. Michael and I lived on Limehouse Street, so I could walk down Tradd street, take a left on King street (peek in all the other antiques shops) and then a right on Queen street to get to work.

I love walking in Charleston! Every home is remarkable and has a sense of history to it. I would always see and talk to people when I would leave our tiny apartment on Limehouse Street. I would always see the tourists with their guidebooks looking at the seawall (located next to our house). Our house was actually in the tourist guidebooks because of the seawall. This is where Slate, Katherine’s cat, would take his afternoon naps and watch for birds.
I would often bump into our neighbor Bill. He was always outside with his dog, Boots. He was a very nice elderly man who was a long time Charlestonian. I truly enjoyed talking to him. Back on Tradd Street, I would see Winston, a New York expatriate with an ‘English’ accent, washing his Mini Cooper. Before heading to the antique shop, I would always see three elderly retired men meeting at the Battery for their daily chat and feeding the pigeons. They would always wave and smile at me!

Since you made it this far, one more thing, if you do decide to head to Charleston - A shopping trip would not be complete if I did not recommend a shop. The Charleston peninsula has several shoe shops, and what’s a weekend getaway without a little shoe shopping!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Southern Chefs

This past Sunday, after dropping my hubby off to watch five to six hours of nonstop football, I spent the rest of my day at one of my favorite places—the bookstore. For me, there is no better way to spend my time then at the bookstore pouring over books and sipping coffee. Since I’ve had recipes on my mind, I spent a majority of my time in the cooking section. I was quite overwhelmed with all the Southern cookbooks, although, I am in the South, it could have something do with it.

Before I get started, I wanted let you know that I did find the book Picnics, which I had spotted on The Paris Market & Brocante blog. Since I have no plans, unfortunately to be in Savannah on October 26th for the book signing, I just went ahead & snagged it. I love this book and I highly recommend it. The Hubby, Rolle (canine pet) and I squeeze in several picnics a year, so this book will come in handy. Plus, the photography is very beautiful, great recipes and you can’t beat the price.


Now back, to my Southern chefs! One book that I did stumble across, actually it was in plain sight, right next to Paula Dean, was the Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. I’m not all that familiar with the Lee Bros., but I did recall House Beautiful doing a feature on them in the March 2007 issue. I even tried the she-crab soup and loved it! So naturally I picked up the book and plopped down and starting reading. I love good rags to riches story. They graduated from school in ‘94 (same year my hubby graduated with his MBA), had a hard time finding work, and started a mail-order catalog selling boiled peanuts. I also noticed they lived in Charleston part time (sounds very familiar, I want to live in Charleston, part time or full). Obviously, reading all this sparked my interest and I spent the rest of my day thinking about boiled peanuts! However, I should say that when I first moved to the South, and was working through college, I had mistaken grits for hash brown potatoes. Perhaps not my calling. Regardless, the book is on my Xmas list!

The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook

On Friday, I thought I would share with you another recipe from a Southern chief, Lucilla, (my Italian neighbor via New York and now around the corner from me)—her version of butternut squash soup!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Farm Fresh!

I just came from the Nashville Farmers Market where I naturally loaded up on lots of pumpkins, gourds, apples, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, eggplant, and, of course, squash. Since I’m fully stocked with lots of yellow squash I thought I would do my mother-in-law’s squash casserole this weekend. Truth be told, I believe it’s from a great little Southern restaurant in Roswell, GA.

Squash Casserole
2 medium onions, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
1-¼ cups butter
1-½ cups of pecans
1-teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of white pepper
1 teaspoon of Tabasco sauce
Dash of cayenne pepper
4 Eggs
2 pounds yellow squash

Blanch squash in boiling water. Slice and mash. Set aside. Sauté onions and peppers in ¼ cups of the butter. Add garlic. Cook another two minutes. Return squash to Dutch oven. Add ½ cup butter, 1 cup cheese, eggs, and onions/peppers/garlic mixture, 1 cup chopped pecans and spices. Cook until cheese melts add ingredients are blended. Pour into casserole dish. Mix breadcrumbs, remaining cheese and pecan and pour on top squash. Dot with remaining butter. Bake at 350 degrees for ¾ to 1 hour. Enjoy!

I just received my November issue Of House Beautiful and I spotted an article on Myra Hoefer and her new store. Reading about her store and gazing at the picture made me wish I could astro-project there and buy her out. As a result, I thought, since I’ve been talking quite a bit about shops and recipes, that I would share with you my recipe for a good shop… next week!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Journey Of The Confit!

The French Confit Jar

A few days ago my buddy Cruella was asking me about French confit jars and why they’re so incredible expensive. So I thought after giving my observation of antique dealers yesterday that I would explain to you the position of a confit jar in the antiques food chain. It starts in the far, far, countryside of Northern England where the antique fairs are held and where the English, Irish, Italians, Germans, French, Japanese and Americans all gather to do their trading (all holding their bible—Veranda.

Note that before the confit jar is even spotted, the seller, he could be English or French, knows he has something you want (after all, he has the same bible, too), and he will gladly remind you of that if you ask for a better deal! Since the confit jar has appeared in publication that means the confit is sought after, so it already comes with a nice price tag. Knowing this, and wanting to get a few confit jars home, I naturally hand over my money. However, if a handle is broken they do cut you a small price break.

My discount Confit Jar

After leaving the great countryside of the U.K., the confit lands at the shipping dock where customs would like some money for allowing me the luxury of letting my stuff float on their water. After it clears customs, my shippers pick it up and bring it to my place of residence. It depends on where I’m living at that point as to how much it will cost me to get my confit jar home. After writing my shipper a big fat check, it is now part of my stock. Here I add a wee bit to the price to cover my pints, coffee, rain gear etc. Then the confit is off to the market to be seen by shop owners, designers, and a few browsing retail customers! All this time I pray that it does not break!

After confit is sold at the American market, confit makes it to its final destination, a quaint little antiques shop on King Street (Charleston). To be perched on a chest so that the tourists will have something to admire. Here a much much bigger markup is added to the cost of confit to pay the eagerly awaiting landlord. Boom—confit jar is now $400.00.

My confit with both handles

If you don't have time to travel to the far, far, country side and if you would like a confit jar then you should check out Ann Flaire Antiques - 996 Huff Road Atlanta, GA. 404-352-1960. Sorry no web site. Ann is stocked full of wonderful French things! Even if you would just like to practice your French - Ann is delightful!

Monday, October 15, 2007


In my years in the antiquing world, I’ve identified three types of dealers—the snooty dealer, who knows all dates, periods, makes, and models, and has all pristine Don’t- Touch-My-Stuff inventory; the fly-by-night gypsy, who sleeps in his van with his dog, schlepping his wares from town to town; and the housewife, who always has her Burberry tennis visor on, and just so happens to have her tax id number handy when she see something for her grand country estate. Yet, they all have some things in common. They all know each other from the Swinderby’s country market in the U.K. to the Bermondsey market in London, to the Brimfield market in Mass. to the Scott’s show in Atlanta, to the stores of Savannah, Charleston, Birmingham, Charlotte, Miami, and so on and so on. Next, they all carry the same bible (Veranda magazine)! Most importantly, all of them spend an enormous amount of time trying to figure out what people are buying.

Which leads me to today’s topic - trends!

Back in my day when I was stocking my inventory, I would buy bistro chairs, tables, plantstands—basically if it was rustic and iron it was mine. I’ll just call it French junk as others have called it. French junk a trend? Hey, it sold…well and I liked it. Next, one cold wintry day in the countryside in England, my buddy Liz showed up at the tent where we were all sipping our tea and trying to stay warm and showed us the great antlers and some other furry things she had found for the day. My other buddy & I looked at each other in amazement. Looking back, I wished I would have bought my antlers while I was there. I now own two pairs of German Black Forest deer antlers. Moose heads, deer heads, antlers—trends?

Picture coutesy of Veranda

Which brings me to today, foo dogs everywhere! Now a popular retail store has their version of them. In fact, I was out with Cruella and I spotted a pair. I went straight up, looked at the price & thought, not bad I love that color—Cruella just looked at me and moved on (code for she's not interested). I did leave the store without purchasing the dogs, and I even bumped into another pair on one of my many trips out and still passed on them. In the end, I guess, I’m just a Staffordshire kind of girl, and yes, I would buy that moose head if I had my in-laws mountain cabin. Do I follow trends? I don’t know; I do know that I buy what I like!

My Staffordshire Pup!

In retrospect, after categorizing antique dealers last year in my journal, I now look back and think the biggest commonality that all antique dealers share is passion! Oh if your looking for foo dogs just let me know!

My Staffordshire perched on some books!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Quintessential English Rose Bowl

The trick-or-treaters have not even arrived yet and like always Christmas stuff is everywhere! So in case any of you are out shopping and are in need of a few gifts, I thought I would talk about one item that I use to stock, English rose bowls.

For those of you who are not familiar with an English rose bowl -- the best way to explain is that they’re perfect for those of us who don’t have a lot of time on our hands to do flower arranging, Basically you don’t have to be a florist to have your roses looking nice. Actually, you can use anything with a stem. The women in Savannah love them for their camillias! The bowls come in mini, medium, large and jumbo (sorry, my mother-in-law has my jumbo).

Mini - perfect for individual place settings!

Medium English Rose Bowl

Large rose bowl in the midddle

I just received a phone call from a nice lady who used to buy them from me and she was looking for one for her friend’s 60th birthday. Her comment was “what do you buy for someone who has everything and loves flowers”. I agree, and it is from England! I did think about cloning them but discovered reproducing metal in China was huge for a small businessperson like me. Plus, I found that another company was already reproducing them (such is life).

Rose Bowl I almost cloned!

If you’re not planning a trip across the pond, here are a few stores that I have been into lately who currently have the vintage English Rose bowls.

The Belle Meade Shoppes -5133 Harding Road, Nashville, 615-356-3313.

Interiors Market -55 Bennett St. #20, Atlanta.

Josephines's - 3005 Old Alabama Road, Suite 210 Alpharetta, GA. 770-619-0945.

I'll keep you posted as I find more!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Entertaining Cajun Style!

It’s Friday and that means my hubby will be glued to the tube watching football all weekend. So, I thought I would assign him a task or two. One thing that he seems to be good at and enjoys doing is cooking. He loves to whip up red beans & rice--his way! This is because he’s too lazy to get the cookbook out. I will say he has been doing it for sometime now and does a good job for being a absent-minded professor. I’ll admit they're pretty good, or I would not share the recipe with you.

Following are Michael’s version of red beans and rice. Greatly, greatly influenced from the great culinary master himself ( Paul Prudhomme).

  • Dis takes you awl day so plan ahead

  • Get you a 1 lb bag of red kidney beans, soak 'em in a bowl overnight in some salt water.

  • Boil 8 cups of water and a tablespoon of salt, and a hambone wit a bunch a ham on it

  • Reduce heat to low, add a bunch of finely chopped vegetables

  • 1 cup celery, 1 cup onion, 1/2 cup carrots or green peppers

  • Boil 20 minutes, turn back down to low

  • Add a bunch of spices

  • 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp white pepper, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp basil, pinch of paprika, an 2 bay leaves

  • Boil it up again, fo 20 minutes, den turn it down,

  • Simmer fo an hour

  • Strain dem beans an put 'em right in dere

  • Boil it up fo 20 minutes, den turn it back down an simmer fo 2 hours

  • Add in a bunch a ham, or some good andouille sausage, at least a pound.

  • Boil it up, turn it down

  • Put it over de rice you made dis mornin

  • I always double everything, enjoy it good!!

Picture courtesy of British Home & Gardens

Have a great weekend!

Bye, Bye, Kate!

Once I started this blog, the only thing I‘ve been doing is rambling on about fall, fall gardening, fall entertaining, and fall shopping. Here I am still carrying around my Kate Spade wicker purse that I bought six maybe seven years ago (almost vintage).

Kate Spade Circa 2000

vintage purse found in U.K.

I love vintage purses and last fall I was on a huge mission to find a black crocodile bag for the right price. I have a tiny brown lizard purse that I found in the U.K a few years ago that I use in the evening! However, I would like something that I can use during the day and get all my stuff in. Last year, I even sent my buddy Sue out shopping. Of course, she had no objection. It was not until around Christmas last year at a charming antique store outside of Atlanta that I spotted my purse, but unfortunately spotted something else on my list, a French stool! Having some Christmas cash-thanks to the hubby, but not enough cash thanks to the hubby--I had to make a choice! I ended up spending my cash on the stool; after all, they’re hard to find as well.

bag I want!

French stool

I can’t seem to find anything I care for in the retail stores. So now, I need that purse that I spotted last year! I just bumped into the shop manager of the store where I had located the bag, and he sent me a picture. As soon as I’m able to snag my black lizard, I’ll tell you about this store. For now, I would like to suggest 14th Street Antiques in Atlanta. A dealer there (Purse’) has a very nice selection of vintages purses that is certainly worth a look. I just called the other day to confirm she was still there and I was told that, not only is she still there, but the Atlanta Journal and Constitution just did a article on her. You better hurry!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Little Fall Shopping!

Fall is here, children are back in school and the holidays are just around the corner! This is of the utmost importance to antiques dealers. All antique dealers love October, especially my good friend Sue. Sue, reminds me of “CRUELLA DEVILLE” from “101 Dalmatians” Not because she kidnaps puppies, but because she has dark hair, wears big sunglasses, and she knows how to use her gas petal. She will not let anything get in her way when she is on her way to the antiques shops. She is stocked! Sue has a vast amount of Papier Mache, tole, porcelains, dresser set items, and a little bit of everything else.

In the beginning, Sue and I would do shows together until, during one show, the fire Marshall separated us because customers could not walk down the aisle. Anyway, if you happen to be in Atlanta the second weekend of the month, you should check out Scott’s Antique Market, located 3 miles east of the Atlanta airport. The show actually starts on Thursdays—the earlier the better (Thursday is dealer day). Check it out. Cruella (Sue) is in the north building, up front, in the C3 section. You won’t miss her!

I have been on a mission for a table just like this!

Picture courtesy of House Beautiful

The interior design is by Myra Hoefer, whose work I very much admire.

Picture courtesy of Southern Accents

Interior design by Amelia Handegan

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Old Textiles

Now that we're settled into our cottage, it’s time to get my French dining chairs redone. I have actually been on a quest for fabric for these chairs for three years now but it has always been put on the back burner due to some reason or another. I had originally thought I would do the chairs in a brown toile but I have been waffling back and forth. Which brings me to my love for old textiles.

Old textiles were always something that I would buy, when I could, while I was out stocking for inventory. Amelia Handegan is a well-known designer from Charleston, whom I very much admire. Several years ago when I saw this room she had done in Southern Accents , I was determined to find aubergine toile fabric, so I would be ready to do a room similar to this one day.

Image courtesy of Southern Accents

So who better to call for toile then my French source, Julia? Julia is an English lady who lives in France and specializes in French fabrics. Of course, she did have aubergine toile, which I did buy, but I sold most of it and I’ve never been able to do a room like this. Two years ago I was on a huge mission for brown toile. I was able to purchase this beautiful 19th century brown toile from Julia, which she pulled from her own private collection. I still have this toile and I’m keeping it! She told me that brown is very hard to find, and when she comes across certain pieces she puts them away. I do believe her, because I never see 19th century brown toile and I do make it out here and there. The name of the pattern is “The Miller, His Son and the Donkey” and it is a Toile de Jouy. Jouy-en Josas is the area the toile was manufactured in.

"The Miller, His Son, and the Donkey"

I got this just in time before I was to host Thanksgiving dinner two years ago when we first moved to Nashville. The week earlier, I walked into one of my favorite retail stores to buy a roaster for our turkey and had found they had done a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner setting with a brown toile tablecloth. I’m thinking to myself, I have the old that I will use for pillows but I would love to have a new brown toile tablecloth for my Thanksgiving dinner.

I’m currently thinking, after looking at September issue of Cottage Living that I’ll have the chairs redone in a neutral with our monogram on the back. Thanks again, Cottage Living! Not because I think toile is out, but because I do tend to move a lot and my husband will not let me have them redone for another 10 years. A very knowledgeable textile dealer once said to me, “Retailers have pounded toile to death”. Afterwards, I thought to myself, toile pursers, wallets, coin bags, notebooks, pens, bags, plates, trash cans and yes tablecloths. All in all, if you happen to love toile or hate it, I still think it's a true classic in my book! Oh, and I still have the bits and pieces that she advised me to tuck away.

With that I’ll talk about vintage purses tomorrow.