Tuesday, May 24, 2011


ALWAYS ELEGANT ~ THE THEME FOR THIS YEARS HOUSEWALK ~ 2011  The preparation was more than I had ever imagined.  It was like doing a showcase home of which I had done about 15.  The difference was about 1000 people would be going through OUR  home, upstairs and downstairs with every room being decorated to the best of my ability.  Here is my story. . .      

It was just a little over a year ago that I was asked to be on the housewalk for the Western Springs Historical Society.  I was honored to be asked and accepted the invitation soon after being asked.  I felt much had to be done to 'update' our home and so began my thinking on what I would do. . . . I had fallen in love with all that was gray and begun studying the many gray tones that would soon be a part of our 'new look'.  I must say the beginning was easy as I picked out the warm grays that seem to complement our already existing furniture and draperies.  What followed and the end result, even suprised me. 

The WALK brought many of my former clientele from the surrounding communities which was another reason I must make sure they felt I STILL HAD IT!!  I knew it was important to first please myself (my husband almost always loves what I do) and then to make sure that I could execute some of the inspirations I had gained from many of those new friends in the blogging community that I have come to so respect!

As people arrived, this is how they were greeted:

As Tablescape Chair, the florist assigned to me or who I had assigned to myself ,is
more like it, was STEMS AND TWIGS, of Western Springs.  We have done many
events together and they know my likes and dislikes.  When I have an idea, they listen
 to my heart and never disappoint.  Thank you once again Angela for hearing my
heart speak! 

I had an old garden green wall basket that I wanted  to be heavily mossed. It would reflect
in flower colors what they would be seeing inside. . . . . the accent color would be pink
in the home ~

To see more of their work, go to Stems and Twigs.com.


My French console behind the open door. . . A Shefield, sterling silver footed
 container done with pastel pink roses, hydrangeas, snowballs, white stock
and perconium.

The famous patisserie table from a buying trip to France. . . . anyone who
has ever seen it, never seems to forget it.  Originally, it began its life in a
patisserie (French pastry shop).  It's latest home before me, was a French butcher shop.
It truly is one of my favorite things. . . .

My new dining room. . . . the old French country chairs updated and sassy with
their new gray tones.  Indoor/outdoor white linen ~

Evening serenity showing a new woven jute area carpet~

Daylight serenity. . . I called Caryn Aikens who had done my chairs, to see
if she had any free time to do a stencil on the ceiling.  Once  again Caryn caught my
heart and soul on the ceiling, no less!  Caryn's website: Caryns Decorative Painting.com

The little service table in front of the sofa that faces the fireplace arrived
on Saturday morning.  It was one of those last minute decisions that falls
into the category of cutting it close!  I needed something there that was not of
great proportions . . . . found this in the eves of my garage while on a cleaning binge.

Since I had no plans for a centerpiece, I decided to give each guest a pink
rose that I put into small mini vases that used to hold wax/dinner lites.
I had saved these in hopes that someday I would find a use for them and
I did!

Since I lean toward French influence in our home, I asked a dear friend
who had also done events with me, to do the Eiffel Tower cookies that she had
done for me once before.  As we enter the Great Room, she also had done the
macaroons, made so populare by Laduree.  Toni's Sweets of Hinsdale, Illinois
is a fabulous French bakery.  Her new Chicago bakery to open soon.  Her website,
Toni's Sweets.com,   Toni is always ready to add to and to make whatever I do more
special.  Her talent, ability and love of her art form will never dissappoint.  Many
thanks Toni for always being so gracious and so giving.

The vintage urn dressed for the party~

About 5 or 6 weeks ago I picked up Brooke, from Velvet and Linen
who was in town with her family and off we went to SHOP THE SHED.
This wonderful event is put on once a year by Joy Waltmire of the blogspot
http://savvycityfarmer.blogspot.com/      While shopping the shed, I found this vintage urn and knew exactly where it would be going for the house walk.

Here it is laying on its side upon my arrival home.

In my kitchen as the tour progresses, was a vignette of freshly
baked breads and some herbs.

Freshly baked chocolate croissants from Toni's Sweets

There was a vignette with macaroons (very French style!), real flower
cupcakes from Stem's and Twigs, a silver plated Champagne bucket and my very
own arrangement of Asian lilies and pink roses~

First level guest room accented with pastel pink sheets!

A missed vignette in the living room ~

An antique pine armoire from the Cotswold's~
that houses my collection of cookbooks.

Reflections on tumbled marble~

Little gold bird on windowsill ~

A mantel vignette~

A toile loft guest room . . . .

Looking down from the loft bedroom ~

Another peak from the loft bedroom~

Ready for rest. . . . .

Another kitchen vignette~


My new Ikat fabric on an old chair~Place?
My design studio

Given to me upon the closing of the store. . . hanging in my studio
above a door ~

A special wine dinner at Socca, our sons other
restaurant in the city of Chicago, with Salvadore Faregamo,
the grandson of the well know shoe designer.  He was in Chicago
presenting his new wines from his vineyard in Italy.

The sketch below was given to me by the Western Springs Historical
Society as a thank you for opening our home.

Another little visitor . . . .

My out of comfort zone color.  I used the equivalent Panetone color of
the year ~ honeysuckle ~ This was a big step for me. . . I had to 
that yummy chaise, from Summerhill, with the soft aqua mattlasse fabric that
was nearly new.  Great complement to the honeysuckle.

Under the eves. . . . . and quite cozy for our grand daughter.  She loved
it, but what little girl doesn't like pink!  We just hope our guests do too!!!

A cozy place to read........

A Manuel Canovas duvet cover with quilted plaid
Euro pillows ~ 

Booties under foot, and out the door . . . . .


Friday, May 20, 2011


SO hard to believe that all of the planning, the meetings, the inspiration and the creating for a house walk, is almost here.   I just wanted to show you what this morning's inspiration brought to my outside fountain area.  Amy Cox and I brought out all of my French elements. . . . . . The large mustard pots on the right are called confit pots and were found out at the booths at Cligencourt.  Others, the square terra cotta pots, are called melon pots and are over a hundred years old, found in Aix en Provence.   Mosses, herbs, lavender and birds nest are right from my own back yard. . . . . .(fyi, the nest was abandonded and from last year. . . .)

It just doesn't get better than this when you are working
with real antiques from France.

Two friends stopped by at the end of the day for a well deserved
glass of wine. " OMG  I feel like I am in France!!"  So I served
some French wine!

To the bottom left is a bowl filled with a collection
of baby lettuces. . . .

Flanking either side of the back door will be the Rose Scented Geraniums
which have been planted inside of a white birch wreath.  Do you see the little
moss bird sitting on the wreath?

A gentle reminder that a tiny woven wall pocket

does make an impact!

I just finished the dining room tonight and I couldn't be
more pleased with the results. . .

More tomorrow!


I will be blogging all of the house walk homes starting tomorrow at 1:00!
Still planting to do outside in the morning and a tea cart to paint as well.


Thursday, May 19, 2011


It has been a year since I was asked to participate in the Western Springs Historical House Walk.  That year flew and we are now three days away from the event which will take place on Sunday.  Our home is one of six that will be presented.  I have been thinking for quite some time on what I would do to make a few changes and update (important for a designer to do) to keep my palette fresh and current.  I was "hit" with this new wonderful gray that has without a doubt become the new neutral.  I have also used a few soft pinks as accents on the first floor of our home, re: guest bedroom, dining room, (and not so soft pinks) in the upstairs guest room.  I used the new Panetone color of the year called Honeysuckle.  WOW!  This was a big step for me. . . . . in fact while it was being painted and I was participating a few weeks ago in our new vintage event, called THE GILDED FLEA, I received a call from my husband that I had better come home. . . . . "I don't know about that paint color your chose, you better come home and take a look"  Well if that didn't send me flying out the door. . . . . Yes, it was a change and a big one, but you will be seeing that soon. . . . . plus it is where our little grand daughter stays when she spends a weekend with us. 

Here is a little peak on what is going on. . . . . . .

Our living room with Restoration Hardware slate walls. . .
(The soft green silk drapes stayed the same and look 'fab'
with the new walls)

I have been minimizing and putting things away. . I
am loving a cleaner look without all that stuff!

I have edited and edited and I am happy with my new dining room.  While I have let
the outside come in with no drapery, I have decided to add a panel or two to the bay
and French door window. . . . I found a flax colored very light weight linen  fabric that will not be lined or inner lined.  Those are being installed today.  I have also replaced an area
carpet with a woven natural fiber.  The ceiling around my chandelier will have 'company'
at the end of the day. . . . Caryn Aikens, the decorative painter I have used for my
clients and also who painted my French country chairs will be doing a stencil today around my antique (straight from Paris) chandelier.  It will be done to look old and worn and in
shades of silver with a gold wash like the carving on the French country chairs she painted.

If you are local and wish to buy tickets, they are for sale at Clever Girl in Western Springs,
at Jane's Blue Iris in Hinsdale and at The English Garden Flower Shop in Clarendon Hills, to name a few.

So much more to share. . . . I will be back!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Serendipity is defined as unplanned moments bringing valuable or agreeable things not
planned on or sought after. . . . The phone rang on Thursday night and on the other end of the line was Amy Cox, inviting me to her outdoor garden event the next day.  She is so very talented and her mantra is teaching others how to slow down and appreciate what is on our plates, who grew it and who prepared it all under the umbrella of SLOW FOOD CHICAGO.   She is a great fan of farmer's markets, organic foods and home grown anything!! She believes that everyone should have a garden of full of vegetables.  Not having time or space for a vegetable garden is no excuse, she will even create a mini garden for you to attend to right in your own kitchen window or outside your back door. 

I left the house with great anticipation to finally see what Amy was all about.  She is in the same town as I am, but a mile or two away.   When I finally reached my destination, there stood Amy's home on a little bit of a hill with beautiful landscaping, flowers and garden elements of great character.  I had been invited early so I could be a part of the preparation and blog my heart away as all of her helpers were getting ready for her garden sale.

So inviting it was. . . . her front steps just seemed to beckon ~

The beautiful lavender lobelias, tubs of pansies and vines

A well established bed of Creeping Phlox ~

Healthy and sale ready. . . .

Much to my surprise stood a Master Gardener and an old friend, the Queen Bee
of sustainable foods, Trudi Temple and Amy.

Little herb gardens created by Amy.

A miniature garden of Endless Summer, some stones for texture,
and a collection of mosses.

Mixed greens and lettuces ready for the customer who says,
"but, I don't have time to plant vegetables"  GARDEN READY!
with directions to place mini garden in a sunny spot on back porch
and water when soil is dry! 

Zennias and Nasturtiums displayed with irresistability


Strawberry seedlings ready for sale comfortably sitting on
an old Jenny Lind bed turned bench!

Pots of bright Petunias tucked into the back garden~

As I looked around the yard, I spotted a Robins nest ~

Another miniature garden full of color and delight!

Salad ready and oh so green

Little bits of this and that. . .

Another path, another garden adventure....

More miniature gardens ready made for the condo dweller~

A kiss and a hug in the garden ~

While wondering this amazingly yummy garden, I asked
Trudi what this was. . . she picked a couple and handed a
leaf for me to taste. . . . it was delicious!  I had just eaten
French Sorrel.  Great for salads. . . . and now I am on
the search for French Sorrel.

Hostas, a birdhouse and a place to rest. . .

Amy's green house ~

AND  look what's for sale inside. . .

A true gardener owns a pair of these. . .


Handmade wrens nests. . . every garden should have one of
these placed in a tree.  Wrens eat the insects that could cause
problems in our gardens.  I wished I had bought one, but
plan to return and buy one for my garden.

It was time to go. . . Amy had asked Trudi for some of her books
to sell at the garden event.

As Trudi finished signing her book, I realized it was almost
time for Amy's garden event to begin ~

Amy thanked me for coming over and helping (all I did was clean
up a few things) was reunited with a dear friend, Trudi Temple,  and learned a little more about Amy and importance of creating sustainable gardens, no matter what the size.
 I had been filled with inspiration, friendship and joy. . . and I was able to
enjoy a beautiful Spring morning, enjoy the grounds of a sustainable gardener, photograph to my hearts content