Saturday, July 30, 2011


As a designer, my success has been to listen and allow my clients to express how they live, what makes them comfortable, what their passions are,  their values and  their memories (always in some form of a collection or two). 

Our homes are a reflection of who we are, where we have been, what we love and what we can't do without.  As I begin a new room for a client, it has occurred to me that I often become the curator in the new design process.  "I want a whole new look, but I want to keep my favorite things".   It is up to me to gently use their favorite things, collected objects, art and memorabilia.   Favorite, personal things can be a challenge, especially in a new setting.  But, I do believe that when you are able to balance the old with the new,  the end result will always be far more interesting anyway. 

Personally, here are a few of my FAVORITE THINGS.  I thought I would share with you what makes our house a home, what is special to us and how it has been used.  This is my story and it is my hope that you too will find some inspiration as you scroll. . . . .


This was purchased in France and has the original marble top.  It had been
used in a butcher shop before coming to the hotel market place where I found it.  It is
dated c. 1880 and was considered to be among the first of the iron pieces
made in France.

The iron detail is wonderful. . . note a hint of the Fleur de Les in
the design.  I used this one time for a breakfast table in a designer
showcase I participated in.  Today, I use it in our living room, in
a bay window.  It usually has a fresh bouquet of flowers and
very often in a confit pot.


I purchased this clock about 8 years ago and adore
the oldness that it adds to our living room.  This clock has
kept time for over a hundred years.  I love the shiny brass weights
and pendulum

This is called a wine hod.  It is from Burgundy. It was worn
on the backs of the workers who picked grapes in the
vineyard.  I use this in our master bath over our jacuzzi.

This hand carved  and hand painted French pigeon decoy was a gift from
a very dear friend on her return home from France. He
sits on the top of the molding of my husband's wet bar.
Always a reminder of a dear friends presence in our home.

This hanging rack is above my cooking area.   I brought this
back from a French trip.  It once hung in a French bistro and was
used for hanging coats and hats.

This is a French woman's boudoir table, I have
used it in our great room, far away from my bedroom. It
holds my catalogs.

I really do love the fact that I have never seen this table
anywhere else, nor will I ever!  It was a one of a kind purchase in
Belgium,  right off the floor of the owners antique warehouse office.  It
was his desk and I loved it.  It is now our breakfast table.

I appreciate how special this table is.  Note the table
bases have been carved from one piece of wood which is
almost a lost art today.

These scales were purchased from Marche Aux Puces, a flea
market with stall upon stall of the most wonderful fare
you could ever ask for.  The quanity of antique furniture and
objects for sale is staggering.



I have a wonderful collection of lambs and this little guy was always in a vignette
outside.  He now holds court in my dining room.  I was trying to take formality
out of my dining room and he certainly helped to do that.  He came from
Debra Phillips' shop called Scentimental Gardens, Geneva, Illinois.  You must check out
her blog site called  She is sponsoring a trip to
England. . . . Dorset to be exact.  I will be part of that trip.  She is creating a second
trip in September following the first and there IS room available for that trip.

I have quite a few dishes and I also love to display them. This
is my white and cream cabinet with a few dishes I use daily.
The cabinet door is glass, so the interior must look yummy!

Here is another French piece that I covet. . . . it is a glazed terra cotta
bowl, called a dough bowl.  Made the same way a confit pot is made.  The
green glaze is on the interior and I use it often for large buffets.  I have served salads and on occasions pasta from this dough bowl.

Our doors from Bruges (Belgium) face us every morning as we
come down for breakfast.  They are a constant reminder of
what makes our home so special. . . . and certainly among MY FAVORITE THINGS!

Details of those doors. . . . each key hole represents another
family who owned this French home.. . locks would be changed.

The top of the door with such great hand carvings

The hand carved pediment on the upper right hand side of the door.

The French tube container from Paris. . . . always filled
with flowers from my garden or in winter, the floral shop! 

More fresh flowers from my garden!

This one is a fooler. . . . a forever arrangement
No, these are not real!!!  (The only way I will
deal with faux is if they look real!)

Still more. . . and this arrangement done
in one of my confit pots. . . . I adore these pots that
originated from the Dordogne area of France.

Venturing to the outdoor rooms of our home, I adore these lions
that beckon to share the beyond. . .

. . . . The beyond


Gracie's garden . . . . see her center/back?  A wonderful color
collection of Impatiens.  The rain, shade and just the right amount
of sunlight is responsible for such lushness this year!

I hope you have enjoyed your tour of some of MY FAVORITE THINGS!

Have a wonderful weekend. . . . tonight we will be at Millennium Park listening
to the symphony under the stars, while sharing dinner and aperitifs with
dear friends!


Judy said...

Mary Anne, your home is beautiful and all your things have a story behind them...I think my favorites are the doors (with those keyholes) and the patisserie table. I have always loved those and would love to have an authentic one.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Mary Anne, I love all of your favorite things. Your exuberance for all that surrounds you is contagious, a very good thing, and you inspire us to appreciate more those treasures that surround us. I love the close-up shots of the patisserie table. The detail is easy to miss for the elegance of the marble. Beautiful!