Sunday, January 30, 2011

Modern Mix: Top Five Antique Accessories to Collect Now!

We grabbed dinner on Friday night with one of my dearest friends, who just built a beautiful home in Preston Hollow. Most of her furniture is contemporary, but like me, she loves the mix. She asked a really good question - what are some antique accessories that I can start collecting that will fit into my modern house? Here are my top five picks. 

1. Louis Philippe Mirrors

I'm crazy about the simple, clean look of these 19th century mirrors, so much in fact that I have two of my own! Most are found in a silver or gold-leaf finish, and if you can snag one with the original mercury glass still intact, even better. 

Elle Decor

2. Porcupine Quill Boxes

These boxes were made in the late 1800s on the island of Ceylon (today called Sri Lanka). They come in lots of different sizes and shapes, but most were made using porcupine quills, ivory and ebony. They look wonderful alone or layered together. 

Cote de Texas

3. Italian Fragments

These wood and gilt fragments came from Italian churches in the 18th and 19th Century. Cost depends on the condition and size, but smaller ones are usually reasonably priced. I've seen designers mount them on basic iron stands, or recreate them into custom lamps or bookends. In my sister Hayley's home, she simply set them on store-bought acrylic plate holders. They work so well atop her Louis Philippe commode. 

4. Pierced Creamware

These plates were made in England in the late 1700s as an alternative to the more ornate plates coming out of China. A ton of work went into these plates - all of the little holes along the border were individually cut with a metal tool! A collection works on a wall 
Cote de Texas

Or on a console.
Cote de Texas

5. Chinoiserie Boxes

The French term "Chinoiserie" means  "chinese-esque" and describes a style that has a Chinese influence. You can find everything from tables to mirrors, but my favorite is the black Chinoiserie box. Atlanta designer Phoebe Howard was once quoted in Southern Accents saying, "There is something magical and joyful about chinoiserie boxes, whether they are tea caddies, game boxes, or sewing kits. The ornamentation is whimsical, yet the boxes are timeless, and the classic combination of black with gold works everywhere, in neutral or color-filled rooms." Well said, Phoebe. I couldn't agree more! 

Mrs. Howard Personal Shopper

So, which is first on your list to collect? I think I'm partial to the Louis Philippe mirror...maybe I need a third? 

And, before I sign off, a special thank you to Dallas artist Gina Dunn for featuring me on her blog Utopia Parkway this week! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saving Memories with Style

If you work as a Mom like me, you've got to keep up with a lot of paperwork. My boys present me with tons of art projects, homemade cards and momentos from school every year, none of which I have the heart to throw away. The question is, what do you do with it all? Here are a few solutions I'm planning at my house. 

My mom framed some of our childhood masterpieces in her laundry room. To this day, the walls are lined with my second-grade nativity scene and my sister's Halloween skeleton made of Q-tips. Of course it was a proud moment for us when something was promoted to the laundry art gallery. But I appreciate it even more as an adult - it reminds me (and I'm sure my mom) that we 30-something women were once little girls. All you need are simple, store-bought acrylic frames like these, which are inexpensive and easy to open if you want to create a "rotating gallery" over the years. 

Real Simple always has the best ideas, don't you think? Here, each child has a binder dedicated to their school year. I'd love to make some of these for my boys, and fill them with their drawings, school pictures and anything the teacher sends home. 

Real Simple

I picked up a few of these library office storage boxes from the Container Store. I'm keeping them in the top of our closet for special things the boys give us, like the paper scrap where Leighton first wrote his name or the turkey painting made using an imprint of Benton's tiny hand. 

I'd love to hear some of your ideas, too! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011


It's been exactly one year since we packed up our North Dallas digs and moved south to the Park Cities into our home on Harvard. Thankfully, most of our furniture fit so we haven't had to buy much. But there has been one space we've been itching to fill - an empty wall in our living room. 

We've talked a lot about what to do. An arrangement of prints? A pair of antique doors? We finally agreed that the wall needed a painting - something abstract and BIG. 

So, since I'm obsessed with the art of Atlanta up-and-comer Melissa Payne Baker (see my blog post here) I asked if she would be interested in working on a commission painting. I sent her measurements, some photos of the room and a general idea of what we were looking for. Could it really be this easy?

And just three weeks later (the girl works fast!) a big box arrived on our doorstep. I was in New York for the weekend celebrating my birthday, but sweet Stroud did an expert job hanging it and even texted me a picture. This is what I came home to this afternoon:

A weekend in New York with my best friend is pretty hard to beat (thank you Stroud!) but this painting might be my favorite birthday present. Thank you, thank you Melissa! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hot Plate

Hanging antique plates on the wall is pretty....predictable. But antique plates displayed in linen-backed, Lucite boxes? Pretty perfect! 

Available at Blue Print, 2707 Fairmount, Dallas, 214-954-9511. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Gallery Wall Reveal!

I don't usually make New Year resolutions. But, I do have a list a mile long of things I want to do to my home in 2011. At the top - filling empty walls in the upstairs hallway with a "gallery" arrangement of pictures. 

Southern Accents
Apartment Therapy

Eric Cohler Design

I'm not a huge fan of picture frames (they bring back bad memories of my OU dorm room decked in Party Pics), so I don't keep a lot of photos sitting out. A couple of years ago, my mom gave me some old family photographs and they've been collecting dust at the top of my closet. So I rounded up more from my mother-in-law and headed to BWC (a photo finishing shop in Dallas) to get everything reprinted in black and white or soft sepia tones. Then off to a custom framer who helped me choose complementing white mats and a variety of frames, all in silver so the grouping would tie together. 

I played around with the arrangement on the floor a few times before picking up the hammer and nails. There aren't any "rules" to follow with a gallery arrangement, but I did rely on this great read which has great pointers for hanging photos in your home. 

Here's a look at my new hallway. I'm in love! 

So, I've checked off the first of many projects in 2011. What's at the top of your home to-do list this year? 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Picture This

I just finished pouring through the February 2011 issue of House Beautiful. I love the New York home designed by Gideon Mendelson, and this staircase landing is probably my favorite "room" in the whole house  -  I'm in love with this print collection from Matthias Weischer! 
Rows of framed prints hung on a wall can be boring, but take a closer look at this arrangement. Each framed print makes up a single large picture, just like a puzzle! 

I'm not sure how the designer achieved the look in this case, but I'm happy to share one of my favorite Round Top sources with you, who just happens to offer the same custom wall murals. Nostalgia Fine Art carries thousands of gorgeous antique prints, and can turn anything you see on the site into this:

So much more fun than stacked rows of boring botanicals, don't you think?