Saturday, January 31, 2009

Belgian Decor at Cote de Texas

If you have not visited Joni Webb's fabulous blog, Cote de Texas, this is the week to stop by! Joni is an extremely talented designer in Texas. Her blog was recently selected as one of the top ten decorating blogs of 2008-9 by the Washington Post. This week Joni reviews the Belgian Style that is so hot right now across the country.

Joni describes Belgian decor as "quiet and monotone .. plain linens .. antique elements – ancient stone floors, beams, marble staircases, and acres of limed wood - everywhere. Textures are a very large part of this style – rough, rustic woods and stone surfaces are played against smooth, shiny crystals and glass."

In our increasing complicated world this is a style to come home, relax and unwind in - serene and almost austere.

Please stop by Cote de Texas and see the entire post.

I have saved it as one of my all time favorites, so do not miss it! Here is the link:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Finally! Photos!

Dear Mr. Bob worked miracles somehow, and now my computer recognizes the camera again! So I can download photos and then upload them to Blogger. (I am wondering how exactly the computer managed to 'forget' the camera that it's been recognizing for over two years now? The camera didn't lose weight, it doesn't have a new hairstyle or color or a made-over wardobe. It's name is the same. Maybe the computer is senile? I dunno'. It just confounds me.)

With that lil' problem solved, let me show you the three new pieces that are now in our Faded Elegance space... Above are two tables. The black one has a lovely urn-shaped pedestal, the white one has a set of sweeping legs and a turned crossbar. Can you see either of those? No, because I didn't get down low enough to capture them in the photos - and didn't realize that until three minutes ago when they uploaded here. sigh. (Maybe I am senile?)

This is a lovely solid hardwood desk, with nice deep drawers, a leather insert on top, AND a finished back - you can see a glimpse of that in the mirror. The hardware is original and is a warm aged bronze color - not quite gold, not quite copper. One lower drawer is deep enough for files. In one top drawer, there is the original maker's plate:

(That is not a paint smudge on the drawer interior, it is a reflection of light from the chandelier overhead!)

I forgot to mention in my last post that since the sweet cherub lamp sold, I created another one-of-a-kind custom ribbon shade in pink, using my stash of vintage ribbons & millinery trims. It works perfectly on this stunning and unique lamp, made from a stair balustrade.

The look of the shade can be changed, too - gather up your own antique & vintage ribbons & trims, and replace the pink ones (I just tie them on, so you can do this) - you'll have a lamp that can change with every season! I love creative lampshades, and have some really amazing ones in process for our upcoming spring theme. But you'll have to wait to see those!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oh for heaven's sake.....I swear my camera and my computer are conspiring against me today...they won't let me upload new photos! I'll keep trying.

In the meantime, we took some new pieces into Faded Elegance yesterday - a round black pedestal table, a black desk with seven drawers & a finished back (so it can stick out into a room or be infront of a window, and still look nice!), and a low white tea table with graceful flared legs. Things are moving out of there so fast it's hard for us to keep up with demand...and we love it! ;0) Thank you all for your support!

PS: The big annual Snohomish Citywide Antique Sale is coming up February 6 -8. Keep an eye on the Faded Elegance blog for updated info.... all participating stores will be offering fab discounts.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Shabby Chic Closing?!

I entered the Shabby Chic store in Natick , Massachusetts today - and it was practically empty. Everything in the store was 50% percent off !

Shabby Chic Website
As you can guess most items were already gone. The women working said it was not confirmed but they may have to close their doors. They were not allowed to take orders and were advising customers that if they wanted to order something they should do it online.

Shabby Chic Website
They would not confirm, but suggested that some of the other stores across the country may be closing in the future. We hope not, as Shabby Chic is such an inspiration!  
Another bad sign of the state of our economy.

Shabby Chic Website
I did happen to pick up some really wonderful pillows, though!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rich Dunbrack -The Thieving Magpie

Many of you have emailed me for information about the whimsical clock I have in my kitchen. I thought it timely to share with you the work of Concord, Massachusetts Folk Artist, Rich Dunbrack.

I came upon his work quite unexpectedly at a Sunday morning flea market in Rowley, MA almost ten years ago. There he had stored in a barn, several pieces which were not for sale, but waiting to ship to lucky, new owners. I was immediately smitten with his work. Rich uses found objects and architectural antiques to create his one of kind pieces. Cupboards and clocks can contain fragments of old buildings, antique iron grates, bedposts, clock faces, old farm tools, eel spears, wooden paper mache molds and old barn siding. He meticulously blends these elements together and creates what he calls art that is "utilitarian with elements of vitality." You can"t help but smile when you see his work in person.

Here are a few of his pieces:

Happy Moon Cupboard

Includes building salvage from western Massachusetts, house and tobacco farm materials and an antique moon paper mache mold.

Head and Shoulders Above - Tall Clock

Fabricated from southern Vermont salvage, Victorian house fragments, a bronze doll's head and a period clock dial
Old Road to Nine Acre Corner - Column Cupboard

Built with period New Hampshire artifacts including a Federal house column, Victorian house fragments and iron fittings and hardware, Victrola tube and a mahogany, folk art carved figure.

This custom desk built for the owner of The Zoo Factory in Florida is only one of a few desks Dunbrack has ever fabricated. Another sits happily in Carly Simon's house in Martha's Vineyard. Simon was an early collector and supporter of Dunbrack's art.
Spying Moon - Cupboard / Pantry

Fabricated from Southern NH reclaim, 1800's Federal house materials, period folk art carving and cast stove fragments The 5 Hole - Cupboard

Fabricated from southern Vermont salvage, Brattleboro, VT Arts & Crafts period home, folk art carving, and an early eel spear.
If you continue to be intrigued, check out Rich's website at
I am sure it will bring a smile to your face!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Kitchen Unveiled!

When I bought my house I felt the kitchen needed some minor renovation. Here's what I liked: the layout and the windows across the entire back of the space,which gave it incredible light. I liked the white cabinets, and the recessed ceiling in the kitchen area. What I didn't like was the lack of a center island and the way the cabinets seemed cut the space in half. I disliked the backsplash, and the very badly scratched white Corian counters. I also disliked the lack of mouldings and details, that were so abundant in the other rooms of the house. These pictures were taken when the house was for sale and include the previous owners furniture and accessories.

The area above is also the family room space, though they had taken out the couch and love seat. I felt like the table was too close to the family room. An area needed to be added for the table to have its own space. During this renovation we designed and created a glass breakfast room for the table.

Here are some inspiration photos:

This is a Victoria Hagen kitchen. I loved the soapstone, subway tile and pendant lights. I also liked the beadboard ceiling, but perhaps a bit more scaled back.

These two kitchens are from the Swedish Company, Kvanum Kok. I love the hardwood floors, soapstone counters and glass cabinets. I especially fell in love with the X cabinets.

I loved this box out behind the stove for oils, peppermill, etc. I liked the different tiles with the white subway tile. But I preferred Calcutta marble in a herringbone pattern like this one below:

Here's my inspiration:Here is my box out behind my stove:

Here is the full view. I also added a marble shelf. It is a small feature but it adds so much!

Here is the before looking into the kitchen: (that is me holding my nephew while my sister takes the photos)
Here is the after:

We pulled out the small upper cabinets above the island and added pendant lights. We replaced the upper cabinets by the stove. Then we also pulled out four of the lower cabinets to create a center island. The new "island" has curved soapstone, which you can not see in this picture. Notice the beadboard in the recess of the ceiling and the pendant lights. Also look at the before picture and notice how the windows are lower than the doorways - this always annoyed me, but I was able to correct it during the process.Notice the plain ceilings in the before picture and the beadboard ceilings in the after. Also new sinks and faucets and moulding details. I also added ice box latches and bin pulls to the cabinets.Here is a great picture of the windows which have been raised up about 4 inches so the door and window moldings align.

Here is the TV area before: And after:
New gas fireplace and mantle. Notice the detail work; the moldings wrap the entire room and match the living room moldings which are original to the house.
Here is another view which peeks into the living room and dining room. (The clock is an art piece by a local artist who uses salvage materials to create new objects) Finally the kitchen looking toward the Butler's pantry. I think the gray walls of the kitchen with a touch of marble and beadboard ceiling, ties in nicely with the gray cabinets, marble and beadboard in the pantry.

As soon as my new furniture and chandelier arrive I will show you the lovely glass breakfast room with beadboard ceiling and adjacent family room area!
A little inspiration, finding the right quality cabinetmakers and lots of time helped bring my kitchen up to date and back to the original quality of the rest of the house. We are very happy with the result.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In the Works...

We have so many projects and several themes underway here at Retreat central...

You'll notice a few new things here on the blog - the sidebar is a bit cleaner and we have two new logos, and will be integrating them into all of our product presentations over the next month. Before this summer, our trailer will have the new logo and a little something extra added, too. (It's all about branding, right?!)

Today, we sent off the photo above and a description of our booth theme, 'Farmhouse Retreat', for Farm Chicks 2009. We are thrilled to be participating in this FAB.u.lous show again this year (and noooooo I am not filming videos again.... that was insane. Fun, but insane!). I just can't wait to put our double booth together - yes, friends, that means twice the product and twice the fun! THIS year, I have a whole barn of my own to do the mock booth setup in, so it won't be taking over my living room like it did last year. ;0)

We are also completing final details for our Spring themes - one will debut at Poppyseeds at the first of the month, and another will move into Faded Elegance just after the big Snohomish City Antique Sale in early February. (Stay tuned for more details on that!) The setups we are creating are two very different interpretations of 'a garden retreat', with each chosen for the particular style and demographic of the individual stores. Which makes it SO much fun to shop - for us, and for you!!!

As Seen On...

Somerset Life
January 2010

PORCH magazine
Fall 2009


the oregonian fall 2009

farm chicks
farm chicks vendor profile

Blog 'Honorable Mentions'

barnhouse 1
barnhouse 2
the farm chicks
bird tweets 1
bird tweets 2
come junk with us 1
come junk with us 2
haley's cottage 1
haley's cottage

shabby scraps 
little cottage
mimi charmante 1
mimi charmante 2
mimi charmante 3
lola b's 
salvage studio 1
salvage studio 2
salvage studio 3
salvage studio 4
a cottage industry 
over the top studios 
coleen's reflections
my sweet savannah
over the top studios 1
over the top studios 2
a passionate home
penny carnival
trash to treasure
simply stork
c'est magnifique
up in the attic
farmhouse accessories 
a piece of bliss 
joan of cards
tickled pink
funky junk sisters 1
funky junk sisters 2
funky junk sisters 3

Friday, January 16, 2009

On A French Roll!

For February's theme, I am inspired by french general and the flirtatious French Style of it's proprietress & creative designer, Kaari Meng. Here's Kaari and the cover of just one of her books, 'Home Sewn'.

Kaari was also recently profiled in the new Stampington magazine, 'Where Women Create' - and a shot of her studio even made the cover! (PS: a new one comes out on February 2nd!)

Her design aesthetic is soft, feminine, and vintage - yet her penchant for combining vibrant reds with creamy whites and warm tans has a decidedly rustic, farmhouse quality to it. These qualities made me think of a cozy little cottage in winter, inviting you in, making you feel welcome, and making you forget that it's fffffrrrreeeeeeeeezing outside. (And whether you are in Washington, Chicago, Minnesota, or Alaska, that's a good thing!)

All that inspiration led to the creation of items to foof up the creamy white & ivory softness of our space at Poppyseeds, turning it into a little french pouffe of a are a few:

A custom lampshade, with vintage ribbons & french ticking fabric
Vintage sheet music (all with 'love' as a subject!) paper packs

Velvet heart keepsake boxes with vintage velvet roses

More french ticking fabrics, in pillowcovers

Some vintage pierced metal heart earrings, and a button heart pin

And loads of red, red roses to warm the place up!
It really made a big difference in the room - and Julie says she loves looking at it all day while she's at the register! Sometimes, even small changes or additions can be just what a room needs. Pop on in and see all of the wonderful Valentine's Day gift ideas and winter decor at Poppyseeds!

If you love this look, please do check out Kaari's website, blog, and product line at Photo of Kaari from her website.