March 22, 2012

Any Ideas?

I bought this brassy thing at an estate sale last weekend.  I know that it's an old fire fender, but the dimensions are a bit off.  I usually think of fire fenders as being longer and not so tall.
I found this on the Christie's website here.  Gorgeous but way too ornate for me.
Love those finials. This was on 1st Dibs here

I plopped Bitsy down next to my fender to show the relationship between it and a small dog. She didn't know what it was, but she was pretty sure that she didn't like it. It's 11" tall and 18" wide.  The following photo shows it in more of a 3D effect.

You can see that Thomas is plotting his next move.  "Hmmmm…. Should I check out that new bird nest or maim a lizard?  Ambush Bitsy or dig up an earthworm and play with it in the house?"

So my dilemma is what to do with my new find.  I have another brass fire fender that I'm using on a bookshelf.

I love this look, but it wouldn't work with my new fire fender because it's too tall.

I've been reading lately that brass is coming back into style.  I never knew that it had gone out.  I have several brass accessories that I love and will always use, whether they're trendy or not.  

Here's my tiny little brass book holder.  It kind of looks like a miniature fire fender. Notice that one of my majolica birds is sitting on a glass riser.  My friend Julie bought it at Wisteria for my birthday.  You can read my Wisteria story here

If any of y'all have suggestions of what to do with my new fender, I would greatly appreciate it.  Thanks for stopping by the Terrace and have a great weekend!

March 18, 2012


Most of y'all have probably heard of the store Wisteria here.  According to its website, it is "An eclectic collection of home and garden accessories from around the world…new and vintage furniture, mirrors, linens, lighting, gifts, and so much more."  

Wisteria was founded by Andrew Newsom, the son of the former editor-in-chief of Veranda magazine's Lisa Newsom. Andrew began selling his wares by advertising in the magazine and then publishing a small catalog.  As his business grew, so did the size of his catalogs.  Online sales soon followed, and the rest is history.  

While I'm sure that most of its revenue is derived from its online sales, Wisteria has a retail store in Dallas (company headquarters) and does a brisk business. 
According to its Facebook page, the 20,000 square foot store is "stocked not only with merchandise from the Wisteria catalog, but also with hundreds of one of a kind antiques, textiles, and rarities. The team of Wisteria buyers travels throughout Asia, India, Europe, South and North America looking for unusual objects." 

This is where I come in.  Since I'm lucky enough to live in Big D, I can always do a little retail therapy by heading over to the Wisteria store.  It's a marvelous place, and I rarely leave empty-handed.  I was there yesterday and took a few pics.

On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, Wisteria has its "Flea Market" in the back part of the store.  Clearance, overstocked and "Objet de Ding" items are discounted.  It's a treasure trove; you never know what you'll find, but you can bet it will be a bargain.  

As I mentioned earlier, I go to Wisteria when I need a little retail therapy. I bought these Chinese vase prints a few years ago.  Although the frames look red in the photo, they're really a burled walnut. 

I love the way they look in my breakfast room with my hutch full of blue and white porcelain.

If you read my last post about my dining room here, you'll see the glass risers that I put under my mercury-glass lamps to make them taller.  Yep, they're from Wisteria and come in three sizes.  

In an effort to amp up and modernize my design aesthetic, I decided to go out on a limb and buy this acrylic "ghost table" at Wisteria.

Do you know how hard it is to photograph anything that is clear?  I finally had to place poor Bitsy on top of the table so that it would at least show up.  She was none too happy about her perch and got down as soon as she could.

I love these porcelain eggs.  If you look closely, you can see a little green bunny amongst all of the blue and white.  Just in time for Easter vignettes.

And finally, the following photos are of a gorgeous display that was at the front of the store.  Truly a beautiful and colorful feast for the eyes.

I highly recommend that if you're ever in Dallas near Love Field Airport, you make the effort to visit this wonderful store.  And if you see someone lurking around with a Nikon hanging around her neck and looking furtively over her shoulder, it's probably me.  Actually, the employees at Wisteria were very accommodating and made every effort to help me take my photos.  When I told one man that I was taking photographs of Wisteria for my blog, he looked at me quizzically.  I think that he felt sorry for me.  "Yes, dear, of course you are.  I'm sure it's lovely."  

So that's my Wisteria story.  Hope y'all have a good week!

March 12, 2012

Metamorphosis Monday, Part 1

I think that I've already told you that I love plates.  Even if I haven't, you should probably have guessed it anyway.  I'm just a plate kind of girl.  If I had a mission statement, part of it would include my belief that one can never have too many plates.  This actually applies to any type of china/porcelain/transferware and on to my other collections.  But those are different posts and I don't want to sound too greedy here.

Anyhow, Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch is having her weekly Metamorphosis Monday, where her readers share their "Before and After" stories. I'm also linking up to Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays.  When I was trying to think of what I could write about, the recent transformation of my dining room came to mind.  It's a bittersweet story and involves my obsession with use of plates as wall decoration.  Grab a cuppa as I share my tale of woe with you. (Don't worry, though, because it has a happy ending….sorta).

Along with plates and many other things, I love bright colors.  Not only the primary kind, but also the shrimp pinks and the turquoises, the chartreuses and the mangos, the cerulean blues and the shocking fuschias.  I love to browse through the OPI nail polish colors.

I seriously love the combination of these colors.  I could decorate a beach or lake house in no time flat using the colors of OPI. 

Unfortunately I must curb my enthusiasm for using bright colors in my own house. It's not a huge place by any means, and if I used a different color in every room, it would look like the circus came to town.  I've pretty much gone with a neutral background with pops of color here and there.  Some blue and white in the kitchen, green majolica in the den, a pinky green floral rug in the guest room, an Oriental rug here and a zebra rug there.  Things are fairly calm and soothing….until we reach the dining room.  That's where things get a little more interesting.

I've had a red dining room in my last three houses.  Because the room isn't used often, I felt that I could afford to be a little edgy and think outside of the neutral box.  And I could showcase my plates…..lots of them.  So here goes with the "before" part of this post.  Hold onto your socks because it's a tad startling, and not in a good way.

That's a painting of my great grandfather.  I started collecting Imari porcelain about ten years ago; this was before my collection got so out of hand large.  The lamps have mirrored bases with cream shantung shades.  The small chandelier was in the dining room of the house in which I grew up.  Pardon the quality of these first pictures; I took them with my old phone. 
As you can see, my Imari collection has grown.  There are twenty plates hanging on the wall.  That doesn't include the vases on the brackets and everything on the sideboard.  Lots of stuff.  I thought it looked great, but then people started making little snippy comments.  One of my friends told me that I had a "plate affliction."  A decorator friend told me tactfully that while she liked my plates, she didn't think I needed to add any more.  Slowly I started having feelings of doubt about my wall of plates. 

And then I started noticing how many red dining rooms there were out there. What had been edgy back in the 1980s was now very common and predictable. Builders were even painting dining rooms red in their spec houses. I started to have very conflicting feelings.  I loved my red dining room and my plethora of Imari plates, but I didn't want to be labelled as predictable or a hoarder (of plates). What to do?  Bow down to peer pressure and ditch the red walls and overload of plates, or stick to my guns and keep my beloved but cliche of a dining room? You guessed it…. I'm a spineless, yellow-bellied, lily-livered coward and started immediately looking for a painter. (By the way, if you have any room in your house that's painted red, please take this with a grain of salt.  Completely tongue-in-cheek.)  

Okay, so I am FINALLY ready to reveal my "after" pictures.  (If you like the way the dining room looked before, please keep it to yourself.  My poor husband can't take any more changes for awhile.)

And just like that, everything changed!  New paint color: Benjamin Moore's Bold Blue, #2064-10.  New mirror, lamps and chandelier.  Same dog.

Down from twenty plates to only three!

New old chandelier (bigger than the other one)

New faux mercury glass lamps with lucite bases and linen drum shades

So there you have it.  The old:

And the new:

Overall, I have to say that I'm pretty happy with the transformation.  I decided to go with navy blue walls because I felt like it added a little Ralph vibe.  My aunt painted her dining room this color back in the 1960s before anyone had ever even heard of Ralph Lauren, and I always liked it.  I like the way the blue walls make the colors of the Imari porcelains pop, and I think that the mirror really helps to open up the room... But I do miss my warm red walls, my totally ridiculous number of plates, and even my old Great Grandpa.  But I'm not worried because I have just the perfect spot for him at my husband's office, along with a plate or two.  I know he'll be thrilled.


March 1, 2012

Vignettes at Tartan Terrace

Today I'm going over to Alison's linky party at The Polohouse.  This party is about showcasing our vignettes, and oh dear, do I have lots of them cluttering up decorating my house. 

I have this tray in my kitchen.  Can you tell which plant isn't real?  (Yes, it's the one that looks healthy.)

I made this frame after my mother dropped a whole stack of Blue Willow plates.  She was going to throw them away, but I had heard of using broken china for projects, and voila! this is what I made.  Aren't my little boys just too cute?  It's hard to believe that they're all grown up now. 

Love the feathers.

A bird in hand….

Love my bat!

I believe that a person can never have too many plaid picnic accoutremonts .  

Thanks for visiting Tartan Terrace.  Be sure to visit The Polohouse to see more vignettes.