Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Incurable Collector De-Clutters the Living Room

 It is Monday morning- my first Monday morning in 47 years that I have not been employed by either myself or a corporation. Saturday was the last day of having our Romancing the Home shop.  And as Laurell and I locked the door, a feeling of sadness, yet excitement hit me.  The feeling of lack of responsibility for a job- what needs to get done today -  is exhilarating. So it is time to get my home in order and ready to put on the market in a few weeks. Our dream of building our dream retirement home in North Carolina seems to be taking shape.  But I need to focus on selling our current home of 30 years first!  Now- how do I attack 30 years of collecting?  What goes, what stays?  Not sure yet, but I do know that I need to simplify and de-clutter this house!  So here on the first Monday of my new life- I start the painful process of tossing or storing my treasures ! So I  start with the living room!

Over the past few months, I have gotten rid of the baby grand piano. Now the tree is down and it is time to finally figure out a better arrangement for the seating area.

I move the old gilded sofa closer to the fireplace and bring in the Ralph Lauren
console from the foyer.
Minimal  (for me!)  accessories are placed on top- a large urn of hydrangeas
and a stack of books with a wooden horse on top.
I simplify the assortment of 6 pillows on the sofa and settle on just 2! 
Whew!  I am sweating profusely.

Next for the coffee table- get rid of 2 of the three elements on the table!
But can I really do it- I mean they are so pretty and all---

I just purchased this coffee table from Restoration Hardware before the holidays.
I like the rustic contrast of the unfinished oak top and iron base with the old gilded French sofa.

I eliminate a stack of books, 2 candle sticks, and a bowl of ex votos and crowns.
That hurts.

And finally settle on a silver tray filled with old French letters, fresh flowers, opera glasses and
a candelabra.  Yes, I know I am cheating a bit. But that old silver tray corrals all my goodies into one spot and seems to simplify the table.

Goodness- there is actually space to sit a glass down on that coffee table.

I place all my tall candle sticks in the corner of the room with the tall vintage  floral oil.
 There isn't any furniture on that wall anymore.
 I moved the mirrored console from that wall to the foyer.

The main seating area floats in the middle of the space and is centered on the fireplace.

The  zebra rug on the aubusson to updates the rug.
Not something that my grandma would have done.

One little stack of books and a bust on the small table by the chair.

The zebra gilded settee is moved to the location of the old piano.

A set of vintage white books with gold lettering and my collection of
amphora sit in the mirror alcove by the table of books.

Still maybe one pillow too much- but I can't deal with it right now.
My heart is already pounding.
I clean up the book table and remove candles, pictures and crowns.
Someone can actually read a book right now!

I keep the fireplace as is- for now!
Old goat skin books that I found at a flea market in Florence,
with a collection of candlesticks and preserved boxwood balls stays put.

The mirror console from the living room now moved to the foyer.
A nice change of pace - for now!  I place the rustic bark vase by the gilded mirror for a little
contrast to all the shiny stuff.  My little plaster angel stays put!  Afterall, he guards the house.
So here's the old living room- the "BEFORE"

Old piano-  now gone.  Old coffee table - now gone.  LOTS of accessories - now gone!

Mirror console - now in foyer!
And here is the "AFTER"!
And I actually feel free-  I like it!   


Now the real question is-
How long can an incurable collector keep it like this?

Friday, February 13, 2015

"WE", A Sweet Story for Valentine's Day

During this frigid day, I have been busy cleaning out drawers and organizing.  It's amazing  what you re-discover when going through this process.  Today I happened upon this enchanting little celluloid program book for a fraternity dance in 1932, held in Milwaukee at the Schroeder Hotel.   Reading it, my mind started to daydream about that evening. 


Most of the beautiful Art Deco architectural details still exist today.
The Schroeder Hotel was the finest hotel in Milwaukee in it's day.  It is now owned by Hilton and still retains much of the charm of the original hotel.  In the year 1932,  I'll bet it was quite a big event to go to the Schroeder for a Formal Dinner Dance.  
And it seems that  Miss Doris Pope was being escorted by Mr. Ted Carpenter.
My mind wandered- I wonder how long they had been dating.  How did he ask her to the dance?
Was there a chaperone? 

But more importantly- what was Doris going to wear to the dance?

I purchased this dress from a Milwaukee antique dealer year's ago- could it have
been worn by Doris? 

Pink pearls are sewn into gold lace on the bodice, while silk velvet makes the sash.
Doris would have been the Belle of the Ball.


And what shoes to wear to dance the night away with her true love? 
Perhaps these ribbon embroidery ballet flats.

The menu in the middle of the little book gives insight to the cuisine of the evening!
Fruit cocktail- the star beginning course.
And a slight nod to the famous Wisconsin relish tray- hearts of celery and JUMBO olives.
What did the Green Room look like? I'm not sure but I did find  this picture-----
This is the large ballroom at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center now- still with the original light fixtures.
I think the Green Room should have had green china- like this romantic 1930's pattern.

Green napkins with romantic little cherub napkin rings.

I can just imagine Doris and Ted enjoying each other's company, while eating
Roast Sirloin and Parisienne Potatoes off  this plate.

And gorgeous gilded stemware for the punch that I am sure was served.
Looks perfect with those lovely crystal chandeliers.
Alas, dinner is over and the orchestra starts.
 I peek to the back of the little book and find
Doris's dance cards. 


Of the 14 dances, Doris has entered the word - "WE" 6 times, including the last dance, a waltz.
Doesn't the word "WE" just say it all?  
Mr. Young, Lee and Mullen didn't have a chance!
Happy Valentine's Day! 


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Magical Farm Wedding in Green Lake, Wisconsin

One of the most rewarding aspects of  Romancing the Home has been the relationships formed with our wonderful customers.  I love to hear what's going on in their lives.  Today, I saw two of my favorite customers, sisters Robyn and Lisa, and had the chance to get caught up with what's been going on in their hectic lives.   Robyn shared with me some photos of her daughters wedding, held late last summer in a barn near Green Lake, Wisconsin.  I was so enchanted with the photos, that I begged her to send them to me to share with my readers on my blog.  So here we go--- 

                                    The wedding was held on the grounds of a
                                      beautiful nursery in Green Lake, Wisconsin. .

The bride and her flower girls heading to the ceremony.
The Aisle Runner
The ring bearer pillow

The beautiful couple

The wedding party

Gorgeous flowers in old barrels

How precious!
Robyn, the mother of the bride, found this metal cupola at the Elkhorn Flea Market in Wisconsin and had a carpenter build the chicken wire frame under it to house the "wedding chickens"!!
The cupola just happened to have the wedding garland on it- how perfect!

The chickens were a fun surprise for the guests.

 In a field near the barn, a tent set the tone for the dance hall! 
Swags of soft, flowing fabric created a romantic entrance to the dance floor.

   A gate made of old doors and fresh flowers beckoned the guests to come through and experience the next magical part of this wedding weekend.
Old lace panels, strings of pearls and a steer head grace the door of the Dance Hall.

Hydrangeas and roses in bark covered vases with tons of white votives.

A mis-matched collection of vintage china was gathered for the table settings on the long communal style tables.

It was so much fun for the bride's family  to put this wonderfully enchanting wedding together.
I can only imagine the hours spent creating, shopping,  planning and implementing.
 A gorgeous, creative and simply delightful wedding!