Friday, February 26, 2010

Estate sales

Happy Friday! We got so much snow last night. It's a winter wonderland outside (wishing I was in the mountains right now so I could go snowboarding.) Going sledding with my daughter is about to commence in thirty minutes, so let me post and run. 

 Yesterday I posted about attending auctions at various auction house's as a great way to acquire amazing pieces for your home. Another great option for finding goodies is estate sales.  I will admit that I generally don't attend estate sales (so I'm no pro), but have been to two in the Hamptons and both were amazing. For both sales, I just got lucky and stumbled across them...truly!

 The first estate sale I went to was Domino Magazine's in Amagansett. I was driving down the road to take my kiddies to play minature golf in Montauk when I spotted the sale. I pulled over and sprinted to see what was in store...I found an amazing headboard (see January post).  

The other sale was at the late artist David Porter's estate in Wainscott. I was driving to the beach when I saw the sign for his estate sale. Again, I pulled over to see if there was anything that would make a nice addition to our home.

Yesterday I showed you a costume rendering from Beverly Sill's estate that I acquired at auction. This costume rendering is by costume designer Kroll. It does not have the same legacy as the one I posted about yesterday, but still I love the dress and the color.  The costume designer, Kroll, was a family friend (as I was told at the estate sale) of the Porter's. The nephew hosting the sale was selling approximately 50 different costume renderings by this designer. I often wonder if I should have bought more and made a whole wall of these lovely images...they are perfect for a little girl's room. This is in our daughter's room, along with the Beverly Sill's one of a kind piece of artwork.  
Attending this estate sale wasn't just about hoping to find a gem, it ended up being even better...I got an art education. Now, I pass it along to you. David Porter was an artist who had a residence in the Hamptons. His wife was Marian Porter and her sister, Margaret Oettinger (1897 - 1967) was an artist who studied at Columbia University under the talented George Luks. She did many pieces of artwork that David and Marian Porter had in their home. Margaret Oettinger's work hangs in an art museum in Northeastern Pennsylvania and in many private homes. Below are a few pieces that I purchased. Unfortunately, I don't have them framed yet, but it's on my list of stuff to get done this week.

This painting was done of the view while sitting on the back porch of the family's residence at a lake in Pennsylvania (I can't remember the lake's name right now, but I do have it written down).  Margaret's nephew, John, told me of his fond memories watching his Aunt paint. I gravitated towards this painting because of the water and because of the story behind the piece.  
Another Margaret Oettinger painting of a view from their family's residence in Pennsylvania.
And, this is Margaret Oettinger's.  I like it because it looks inviting to sit down and have a cup of tea.

I'm happy with the two estate sales I've been bumped into along the way. Have you been to estate sales?
Do you have any treasures you'd like to share? Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Auction Houses

 Attending a live auction (through an auction Sotheby's, Christies or Doyle New York) and hopefully winning a bid, is an exciting way to acquire artwork, lovely furniture, jewelry, collector's books, etc. Sometimes an auction house has the honor of auctioning off a piece of history...such as icon's estate. The amazing and incredibly talented Beverly Sills was a born New Yorker and became one of the most famous opera singers of all time. With that said, her estate sale at Doyle New York created great curiosity. What peaked my interest was costume renderings of the various characters she had played in her productions. She is part of Americana, she is part of New York and I desired a part of her legacy in our home!

If you have ever attended a live auction you know first hand the excitement brewing in a room as eager attendees hope to win a lot (an item being auctioned off). If you have not attended a live auction, let me give you a quick snapshot. Depending on the auction house, but generally a few days prior to the auction you have the ability to visit the auction house and peruse the offerings (in this case I went to Doyle New York). You walk around and admire items pretty much the same way you would in a museum. It's at this time that you can decide if any items may be worthy of your bidding. There are various ways to bid on a lot (ie: through an absentee bid, a live phone bid during the auction or by attending the live auction). To truly take in the action of an auction it's fun to attend live if you can. 

It was with baited breathe that I waited to hopefully win a bid on any one of her costume renderings...they are very beautiful and quite feminine. The costume renderings hung in the opera star's foyer of her Manhattan was my hope by attending the auction to win one rendering to hang in our daughter's bedroom. I won a bid and here is our daughter's one of a kind piece of artwork!  Everytime I look at it, I smile.     

I took the artwork off the wall to photograph so that I would not get a reflection of myself in the image. (I need some photography sessions, but probably not in this lifetime). 
A close-up of the artwork. Can't you just imagine her singing on stage with her famous voice in this gorgeous gown? 
A close-up of the artwork and two pieces of the textile used to make the opera gown.
The costume designer's signature...Suzanne Mess. 
Here is the artwork hanging in our daughter's bedroom.
Have you ever been to an auction house? Where do you live? Which one/s have you attended?
What gem have you acquired through an auction?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Zoffany wallpaper

 Update, I finished wallpapering our half-bath tonight! I started working on this project the day before our vacation to Mexico. I resumed last night for two hours and again this evening for about two hours. Since I'm personally hanging the wallpaper I need to work on it when I have time at night...once all evening routines are finished and my little kiddies are soundly sleeping. It took me approximately six hours to wallpaper our half-bath. I enjoyed watching the room transform before my eyes. I am waiting for new sconces to arrive and then I'll be able to show the completed look. I am very happy with the Zoffany zebra wallcovering! It's striking, but subtle at the same time. I captured the correct colorway of this wallcovering in the first two photos.

Because I'm a huge fan of a chandelier in a bathroom!
Zoffany wallcoverings are available through the trade...look at their website to peruse the amazing options for covering one's wall. There is truly something for everyone.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where do you put your newspapers and magazines?

A book is easy to put down and have it look good while you wait to grab it again and continue reading, however magazines and newspapers are another subject. I find it's nice to a have a go-to place for grabbing a magazine or the paper, otherwise an overflowing pile is bound to happen. In our kitchen I have this magazine rack and newspaper them both. I like having reading material in the kitchen. It's nice if you are alone while grabbing a bite to eat/cup of tea to drink that you have something to read or glance through. This rack houses reading material for my husband, me and our three year old daughter. Having the following two pieces in our kitchen truly helps to limit clutter...once either is full then it's time to pass a pile of magazines to my neighbor or recycle the newspapers.

  This little NEWS bin is one of my favorites. It's a touch whimiscal, but very pratical.
I purchased this newspaper bin from Chiasso.
Here is the link:
Where do you put your newspapers and magazines?    

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lighting fixtures

I took last week "off" so that I could indulge in my family, the sun, the warm weather and relaxation while in Mexico! It was nice to wake up every morning, open the curtains and be greeted by the beautiful blue ocean...what a way to start each day! I truly savored every moment! While at the resort, I took notice of these lighting fixtures! A must for any well designed room is to find perfect lighting fixtures (lamps, sconces and/or chandeliers) that fit the setting for a particular space. I love how great lighting and striking fixtures can really transform a room! This fixture...fabulous!
Notice the gargolye sconce in the background on the right. 
I don't forsee being able to use these gargolye sconces any time in the near future, but I still like them. They remind me of the gargolyes on some of the old buildings on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
There were nine of these huge lighting fixtures in the reception area which made for quite an impact! It's hard to ascertain the massiveness of these fixtures from this photo, but they were quite large!
What do you think of the above fixtures? Do you take notice of lighting fixtures, whether it be in a residence or a commercial space?  Do you spend time finding the perfect fixture for each space in your home or are you just happy to have light?! I'm off to the city now. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Still on vacation...

I will resume postings next week as we are still on our family vacation! Enjoy your week!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Earlier this past week I did a posting on wallpaper. I mentioned that I had ordered two different wallpapers and was anxiously awaiting their arrival! On Thursday, I returned home to find that both of them had arrived...I was thrilled! So, Thursday night after my kiddies were sound asleep I decided to take on the task of stripping the existing wallpaper in the half-bath with DIF...I worked on it until 12:45am (yes, that's crazy, especially since I was leaving for a family vacation at 4:45am this morning!) Yesterday morning I primed the walls before taking my daughter to preschool (and reading two stories to her class...the kiddies were so cute), when I returned home at lunch I worked for two hours on hanging the is a small snip-it of what I was able to get done before I was called to take care of other tasks! More to come when I return from the sun and warmth! Have a wonderful weekend!
This is a Zoffany tone on tone zebra wallcovering...I love it!
Have you hung wallpaper? Do you have any tips that you want to share with the DIY crowd? This is the fourth time I have personally tackled hanging wallpaper. It's much harder than one might think.  The first time I hung wallpaper I did a stripe (my son's room), which did not have a repeat match-up making it easier to apply to the walls. The above wallcovering has a 13.4" repeat which makes for a good amount of waste and lots of measuring to make sure all of the zebra's lines match-up. I'll be out of town for a week, once I return I'll post photos of the finished bath!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Anyone who knows me, knows that I love, love, love shoes! It doesn't matter what kind of shoes...high heels, ballet flats, winter/snow/hiking/rain boots, casual "mom" sneakers, flip-flops, etc...I simply love footwear! When traveling, I have been known to carry shoes in my carry on luggage so that nothing would happen to them! So, it goes without saying that I love finding great shoes for my daughter too. Well, imagine my excitement when I laid eyes on these Stuart Weitzman's for her! How adorable will this pair be with dresses, skirts and even jeans with a cute top? An amazing deal for $19.99 at Marshall's!
Here they are sitting pretty in my daughter's bedroom!

Are you a shoe fanatic too?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Brad Ford

Today I attended a lecture at the D & D Building in NYC. Marisa Marcantonio of chatted with interior designer and fellow blogger, Brad Ford about the world of blogging. As a new blogger I found the lecture of great interest...thanks guys for sharing your wisdom and experiences! Brad Ford's interiors are sophisticated and timeless. Take a look at his fabulous portfolio at and follow his blog at .   
I was fortunate enough to have a few moments to chat with Brad at the reception in Holly Hunt's showroom (visit her website at - furnishings available to the trade only).
Here I am with Brad.
I've been blogging since January 1 of this year, so I welcome the opportunity to learn more about this transparent world we are living in with blogging, Twittering and Facebooking.  Even though I'm a newcomer to the blogging world, I'm happy to have a fun spot for sharing my personality and design interests! What do you love about blogging, whether it be having a blog of your own or following blogs? I'd like to hear from you!

Monday, February 8, 2010


It was a wildly busy day, so I'm just visiting my blog for the first time today. I'm in NY and we are expecting a big snowstorm tomorrow evening and I'm going away for the holiday next week, so I'm working non-stop to have all my ducks in a row! Today's post is about wallcoverings...I am a huge fan! Wallpaper today is not what it was when I was growing up. When searching for the perfect wallcovering the selections, styles, prints, colors and suppliers are endless. I like seeing a house with a nice mix of wallcoverings, as well as painted rooms. The balance is lovely. Wallpaper edited wisely adds real character, charm, sophistication and interest to a home! 

Here are some examples of the wallcoverings that I personally applied to the walls of my home.    
In our daughter's bedroom here's a Cowtan & Tout wallcovering below the chair rail. It is beautiful, timeless and feminine (despite not being pink)!   
This Ralph Lauren striped wallcovering below the chair rail in our son's room.
It's handsome and reminds me of a man's business shirt!  
In our dining room I searched for a wallcovering that was dramatic, fun and a touch more bold than I'd normally gravitate towards. I applied this Zoffany wallpaper to one wall in our dining room.    
I have ordered the following two wallcoverings, they have been shipped and now I'm waiting for their arrivals! This Schumacher tone on tone wallcovering by Kelly Wearstler has been on my mind since I first noticed is now going in my office! It really is the essence of subtle sophistication! I can't wait to hang this wallpaper! Since I only have a sample and it's been toted around in my handbag, you'll have to forgive the crease marks from being folded. Once I hang I will show my office.  
And, this Zoffany tone-on-tone zebra print number is going in our half-bath in the foyer...oh, I can't wait! 
If it arrives this week, I'm sure I'll stay up to all hours just to complete. I love animal prints...on wallpapers, textiles, shoes, clothing, handbags...anywhere! Again, this is a sample and has been toted around in my handbag since ordering, so you'll have to overlook the creases.
What are your thoughts about wallcoverings? I'd like to hear from you!
 Tomorrow I'm off to a lecture at the D ; D (design building in NYC accessible to the trade only) to listen to the talented Brad Ford followed by a visit to Doyle. (Auction houses are a great source for obtaining furniture with a certain pedigree, along with original artwork at reasonable prices...if the bidding doesn't go crazy!) I'll post tomorrow evening. Good night!   

Friday, February 5, 2010

New York International Gift Fair - Final day of your "tour"

Last weekend I spent all day Saturday and Sunday walking miles at the NYIGF while looking at beautiful furnishings! All week I have been sharing with you photos I took while at the show to give you a behind the scene tour of the fun! This is the final "tour" of the week...hope you have enjoyed!   

Trays are one of my favorite home accessories. I use trays in foyers for a handy place to corral keys, a cell phone, one's wallet, etc....they look great, but also provide a utilitarian function. I also love them in a living room placed on an ottoman...great for your beverage of choice! The following three tray's caught my attention as being quite striking. I fancy them all, but all in different homes!

Bungalow 5 has this fabulous the gold, the depth and the too? This tray would be perfect in a foyer on a sideboard or console.  Visit to find a retailer near you.

Sashi Dekor makes gorgeous wooden trays...quite exotic in their appeal! The following are two handsome examples of their work. Visit for a retailer near you.

Notre Monde makes trays with mirrored bottoms. Look at the designs within the mirror...striking, right?
Visit Notre Monde to find a retailer near you.

I hope you have enjoyed the week of "tours"! Have a wonderful weekend! 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

New York International Gift Fair - Day 4 of your "tour"

For past three days I have given you a behind the scene tour of the NYIGF, so that you have an idea of what it is designers see at such showcases. Here is day four of your "tour"...enjoy! Tomorrow will be the last posting on the NYIGF, until August when the show returns!

Oly Studio has beautiful home furnishings. Look at the vignettes below to get an idea of Oly's furniture line. The children's line of furniture made its debute at the show! To look for a retailer near you visit

Oly's amazing children's chairs! 

I could not take my eyes off this floral's absolutely beautiful! The colors and the design are so striking that it would give a little personality to any home! This company represents many artists. Look at their website for more information. 
These are pillows, not rocks! Amazing, right?

Bungalow 5 has a wonderful collection of home furnishings! I have always loved this Jacqui console desk/console. It comes in so many great colors (white, brown, red, green -as shown and black). It could be used in a living room, a bedroom, a hallways, the foyer...where would you place the Jacqui? To look at the entire Bungalow 5 line visit and to find a retailer near you you'll have to e-mail the contact information on the Bungalow 5 website. If you are in the NYC area I know Gracious Home carries the line. 

Tomorrow wraps up your "tour" of the NYIGF!  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

New York International Gift Fair...Day 3 of your "tour"

The past two days I've posted images of items that caught my attention at the NYIGF and will continue to share photos from the show with you this week. On Monday I mentioned, the NYIGF is to the trade only (designers, shop owners, retailers, etc) so if you aren't part of the trade, but love the trade here is your behind the scene tour! Enjoy!

Julian Chichester's line of home furnishings never's so striking! Look at the company website to find a dealer in your area.
This Anna cabinet is a beauty! The Seville mirror is quite lovely too!
Loving this lighting fixture! 

If ever there was "jewelry" for the home, I think I've found it! Look at the napkin rings and the lovely bird branch pretty, right? To look for a retailer near you visit . If you live in the NYC area or will be visiting, check out ABC Carpet & Home as they carry this line!

Shiner Internaional just launched it's line at the NYIGF...I was impressed! The owner of the company was so nice and he informed me that all products are made here in the USA (big plus)! This chair is so unique that it caught my attention! Of course, I had to try it out to make sure someone would really want to sit in passed! Also, look at the coffee clever for those who have lots of magazines or papers piled up.
   See you tomorrow for Day 4 of your "tour"!