December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Look for Less: Traditional Home Visits Designer Joseph Abboud

Hola Darlings!

Fantastic articles in this month's edition of Traditional Home print magazine, and you can see a lot of it online.

Many beautiful spaces and gardens were featured this month, but -- and I am not sure what it is, exactly -- something really grabbed me about this space when I was reading the article about men's wear designer Joseph Abboud's "pied-a-terre" (it actually looks to me like the oldest building comprising the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. - some pied-a-terre, woo woo!)

Here is one of the photographs of the front room (living room):

You can read details about the room online at Traditional Home (click on the link above).  I am so in love with this room, I selected it for my next Look for Less self-challenge!  I haven't had one of those for awhile and I'm itching to do one again.

I'm looking at (1) those amazing ionic capital coffee tables, (2) the round mirror on the wall between the windows, (3) the brass "pharmacy" lamps at the end of both sofas, (4) the sofas, (5)the bookshelf to the right of the fireplace, (6) the arm chair opposite the fireplace and (7) the horse print.

Let's go! 

The first thing I hunted for was some kind of substitute for those incredible Restoration Hardware coffee tables.  A single costs $1,995 plus shipping, per online catalog.  Yikes!  Details:
  • Finished in chipped, flaked and weathered lead-free paint; top is unfinished, as it was on the original, salvaged architectural fragment
  • Finish may continue to flake over time, complementing the patina
  • Each is one of a kind
  • For normal daily care, dust with a feather duster or wipe with a clean, dry cloth

    • 37"W x 25"D x 16"H
    • Weight: 92 lbs.

    Maybe it's just me -- but nowhere did I actually see these reproductions described as being carved out of wood, but if they are true reproductions then they have to be wood, so I'm assuming the tables are made from wood. 

    They are, of course, absolutely beautiful.  I did not expect that I would be able to find a close and less expensive replica of these tables, and I have not.  I have found similar looking TINY little capitals upon which to stand small sculptures.   I have found a few possibilities but overall, I'm disappointed.  Take a look and see what you think:

    First, I found these Medici Capital Ionic Columns at Ballard Designs:

    Dimensions:Large: 6"H X 14" Square
    Medium: 5"H X 10" Square
    Extra Large: 7 1/4"H X 16 1/2" Square
    Construction: Made of plaster.
    Country of Origin: USA

    Prices:  $49 medium; $69 large; $99 extra large. 

    They're beautiful!  But they are not anywhere near the size - or made from the material of the RH tables.  They are meant to serve either as pedestals for plants, sculpture and such or to be stacked like this arrangement and used as a side table.

    That doesn't mean, though, they can't be used to make something akin to the RH coffee tables.  I thought two sets of two large Medici Capitals stacked on top of each other would work well to construct the coffee tables.  My thought is to insert a slab of stone, travertine, marble or hardwood 16 1/2" square and 1/2" to 1" in thickness in between two of the capitals; the bottom capital would have the "top" (square flat side) on the floor, then the insert would be placed, and the top capital would be placed with the scrolls resting on the insert.  The look would be top -- flat; middle section -- curved capitals mirroring each other, separated by the slab; bottom section -- flat. 

    I think the weight of the construction would be enough to hold it stable, but some kind of construction glue might also be used to cement the pieces together.   It would be a smaller version of the RH tables that has the same kind of vibe, but not the price.  The piece could be finished with milk paint which, I understand, "chips" and could give a similar look close to the RH tables.  I did not price what a 16 1/2" slab of stone, marble, travertine or a good strong hard wood would cost (times 2), but four of the large size Medici Capitals would run about $400 plus shipping.  Three pairs of tables would cost about $600 plus shipping.  Less than half the cost of one RH table, but would still yield a great WOW factor, IMHO.

    My next stop was at a website called Casa de Arti that I found during a Google search.  Lots of really cool things there!  I found some possibilities for coffee tables. I think these are cast in plaster. 

    Corinthian Capital Table Base:

    The photos from this website aren't always the best, and the information provided for each piece is skimpy!  For instance, I believe this piece is 16" tall, but I have no idea on length/width.  Judging from the photograph, it may be 16" square.  The $104 price (not including shipping) is for plain white.  Painted finishes are available, generally at a cost of plus 30%. I did not find photos of finished articles at the website, so I've no idea what the different finishes look like.

    I would use this piece by anchoring the round bottom section to a 16" squared piece of stone, marble, travertine, or wood, and fixing it together with a strong construction adhesive. 

    Ionic Base:

    This piece is 16" square and 18" tall.  Price is $127.19 which, I believe, is for white unfinished.  This piece presents some possibilities.

    Baroque Pedestal:

    This piece is 15" tall, I assume also 15" square, judging from the picture.  It could use some height, a 15" square piece of stone, marble, travertine or wood used as a base glued to the bottom of the pedestal would give it stability and additional height for use as a coffee table.

    The pieces could also be flipped with the flat tops and scrolls on the floor and a new top piece added.

    I am next going shopping for a white-framed mirror.  See you soon. 

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