Central Foyer?

This post and the following three will be about the work in progress of, for lack of a better description, the central foyer. This area of the house is located at the end of the hallway, just before the kitchen. But it also leads to the dining room, the library and the powder room located under the staircase. Including the hallway door, it has five doors connecting to it. The wallpaper has to go. It's not offensive, but because that area is so small and filled with the moldings of all these doors, simplicity on the walls would be better. The steam cleaning machine was initially bought for health reasons, but it turned out to be an invaluable tool for removing wall paper.

The pretty suspended light, like most of the lighting in the house, was here when we moved in. By the molded frosted glass, I estimate circa 1940, but I can be wrong.

To me, looking at images of wall paper being stripped is like watching... someone stripping wall paper, but I hear that some house restorer enthusiast find the process really interesting. Perhaps it's the comforting feeling in seeing that they are not alone in doing this rather very unpleasant job. Then again, Brian has been doing this rather unpleasant job so I wouldn't know first hand. My enthusiasm lies more in the painting process; now that's like a three ring circus...

Eastlake Princess Bedroom

The first room we repainted after we moved in was the bedroom our daughter would choose to sleep in. It has a bright south-west exposure, two windows, lovely view of the nature trail bridge and when the trees are defoliated, we can see the River Thames. The girl instinctively knew which room was the best. I found in the classifieds this antique Eastlake bedroom set and knew right away she would love it. Very shabby chic, it fits right into the vintage of our country house. At the risk of being chastised by antique furniture purists, I think Eastlake furniture looks better painted. The marble lamp with the love birds used to belong to my grandparents on my mother's side. The spectacular chandelier was already in the house when we took possession and most probably is an antique as well. Since we finished this room, our tween has added a million girly girl nicknacks and whatnots, making it truly her own.

A custom made mattress had to be especially made for this antique bed. It's a little narrower than a double bed and a little shorter as well.

 The vanity with chest of drawers and bookcase.

 Small chest of drawers with cabinet, originally used for washing up. A big pitcher and bowl would have been resting on the top. Note the towel bares on each sides.

 Stunning antique glass chandelier.

 Antique marble night light, family heirloom.

The ornate cast iron heating vent. The air flow can be controlled by a small leaver at the base.

Victorian Unmentionables For Valentine's

I once read that sexy lingerie is one of the most popular gift given to women for Valentine's Day. So, I thought I would depart from my usual house photos and show you Victorian undergarments. But even if the modern day man would make such a purchase for his beloved, it would have been inconceivable for the Victorian man to do such a thing. Come to think of it, it would be inconceivable for my man to do such a purchase as well, to no fault of his. Having been a garment designer most of my life and having been in charge of my apparel since the age of 13, we have this arrangement that suits us both. If I want something, I buy it and tell him, "This is from you, thank you baby".

These intricate pieces of Victorian under garments are quite beautiful and reproductions are still worn today by period garment enthusiasts, steampunks, fetishists, or those who simply love to wear pretty feminine things. The seamstresses and tailors who offer their Victorian inspired designs and bespoke workmanship are alive and well in these subcultures. I agree, you would probably not want to wear a corset for 12 hours a day, every day, but for a cocktail party or a private tête-à-tête....

So if you haven't found something special for your baby, I recommend Etsy.com. It's a really great shopping site for those who appreciate handmade, unique items of all sorts, made by artist, crafters and designers from around the world. Instead of buying something from a big box store that doesn't really need your encouragement and offers only things mass produced, do consider giving your business to someone who would really appreciate it. You will be amazed at the variety and talent out there.

Happy Valentine's Day!

The Main Staircase

A welcoming sight upon entering our home is this lovely Grecian lady on the banister post. If you are lucky, the sun will be hitting the front doors and project the windows' etched patterns of hanging baskets onto the wall.

Above, the ceiling is adorned with a beautifully ornate medallion with a fruit theme. Once we are ready to paint this part of the house, we will make it stand out a little more. The stairs have a comfortable angle to them so you are not winded by the time you are upstairs. Surprisingly, they hardly creak. Yes, the carpet on the stairs must go, but it will stay there for as long as we foster dogs - it gives the beasts a sure footing. It's the only place in the house that has carpeting. I love persian rugs, but I love dogs even more so that indulgence will have to wait.

Millie, at the top of the stairs, is our current foster.

Violet is my high-spirited and passionate little Havanese.

Chaz is my easy-going and sensitive Tibetan Terrier rescue.