My passion, after my family of course, is Treasure Hunting. The simple beauty of things from by-gone eras have always spoken to me. Whether these treasures are found at a flea market, fine antique store, estate sale, thrift shop, or in the family attic, surprises abound.
As an interior designer, I believe it is vital to balance your decor by including found and family treasures. Surrounding yourself with things you love should always be the goal, from there you will find your true style.
As I shop, I may have a client in mind or I may want to resell at our french flea market or in my shop. I am lucky to have several outlets for my treasures including my own home! I plan to share my searching, hunting, travels, and treasures with you and encourage you to enjoy adding your treasures to your home.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Honor the Women in your Life

Last night was our ninth annual gathering, but how can that be? The time has gone so quickly. The memories of each year are ones I cherish so very much. 
My dear friend, Chris, decided all those years ago, to hold a celebration. Her goal?... to honor the women who hold an important place in her life's journey. Women from her childhood, adulthood, school, church and work all brought together by their relationship with this one woman. Many travel great distances to attend and throughout the years we have even forged relationships with each other thanks to our friend Chris.
This celebration is a tradition that each of us consider a great honor to be included in. 
"Triple D", as Chris' husband refers to it, this evening has been coined "Dames Dining in the Dark" by our hostess. 
Each year has a completely new theme and therefore decor, food menu and signature cocktail, of course! This year's cocktail... lemon sangria which was incredibly wonderful.
The al fresco dining event had a wine theme. Decor of wine bottles lit with tiny white lights, wine bottles as vases, candles and hundreds of wine corks.
Our hostess thanking us for our friendship and attendance.
When indeed we should be the ones thanking her!
The wine bottle vases held red gerbera daisies, white spider mums and fresh rosemary.
Chris's daughter, Claire, is a genius in the kitchen. This year she created a spectacular, rustic Italian style menu. Spectacular salads, assorted breads, 3 different lasagnas and the piece de resistance... a trio of heavenly desserts, all made by Claire with love.
This post is for all the ladies who attended last night and all those whom may read this and decide that they too would like to create an event to honor the important women in their lives.
Time passes so quickly and we do not always make the time to get together with the special people in our lives... I am thankful our friend Chris finds the time for all of us.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Garden Tour Follow Up

Our garden tour featured landscape is complete. Our home was very well received by the well over 700 garden enthusiasts. We are proud to have had such wonderful response and even more proud that our customer is thrilled with the final product. As requested by many of those who were unable to attend, here are the final series of photos from of our Rossmoor Garden.
To accommodate the crowd, we removed furniture from the brick patio area. This space was designed with a dining table area as well as a chaise with table reading area.
Entrance to the garden from the kitchen. A common lavabo is planted with strawberries.
Outside the potting shed is a "potager" planter. The European baby bath is planted with herbs.
The Eureka lemon tree was full of beautiful lemons. The shutters were added to match the pergola. 
The new air conditioner cover allows the unit to be hidden but still have necessary air flow. The redwood will gray nicely within just a few months. It was a very gratifying day. Many lovely comments were made and we were thrilled to met so many nice people. On to our next project and I cannot wait to get back to treasure hunting next weekend.
Happy Hunting! 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Preparing for the Garden Tour

It has been a busy busy week. For the first time, one of our gardens, designed and installed by Le Potager, will be featured as part of a local charity garden tour this Sunday. 
This is the garden of one of our long time customers. We completed the back yard some months ago and the front yard was completed... well, what time is it?  O.K. we really finished a couple of days ago.
The front yard features a decades old olive tree that we, and the homeowner, just love. Now we love it even more with this wonderful circular bench.
 This is the north view from the covered dining area.
The south view featuring the potting shed and the entrance around the right to the secret garden.
The potting shed tucked behind a jasmine covered arbor.
Interior of the potting shed. Very charming yet still a working shed.
Looking back at the potting shed from the arbor entrance to the secret garden.
These are my working photos so although they are not lit exactly how we wanted, you can see the big picture. The designer in me will be decorating with all kinds of beautiful items for the tour itself. I will follow up with some shots along with those of the fountain area and dining area that I did not yet have for this post. This job was a true labor of love. Phase one, the backyard, complete. Phase two, the front yard, complete. Phase three, the front side yard, scheduled for this fall.
No treasure hunting this weekend as I will be at the garden tour. 
Hope you find some treasures... happy hunting!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Treasure Hunting with My Mom

In celebration of Mother's Day in the U.S. today I wanted to post a short & simple post to honor my mom. We took a mother and daughter road trip this last summer treasure hunting through the back roads of central and northern California. It was a great trip and although treasure hunting is not my moms favorite pastime, she was the perfect traveling, hunting and gathering partner. It is a trip I will always cherish.
A passerby snapped this photo for us in Yosemite, midway through our road trip. The van was full of loot and we were on a roll. I am very happy we have this photo, I think it is the only one of us together from our trip. Today I am thrilled to be able to spend the day with my entire family celebrating "moms". 
Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Masters of the Victorian Table

To say the Victorian dinner table was very well appointed is a true understatement, as we all know. I have always been intrigued by the number of communal vessels that were included on the well set dinner table. Their use was almost as intimidating as the individual place setting itself but, each communal vessel or "master" vessel had a counterpart which was part of each guests personal setting.
As salt was a rare and expensive condiment, salt held an important position on the set table. Gorgeous vessels made of silver in designs honoring man and nature adorned the finest tables. Master salt vessels featured glass liners, many even had expensive colored glass liners, that protected the silver from the contact with the harsh salt. From the beautiful master salt then each diner had their own salt dish to pinch or with a tiny silver spoon, sprinkle onto food.
This beautiful silver master salt features a cherub pulling a cart made of cobalt glass.

Master sugar bowls were traditionally part of meals and tea service as well. These vessels held one of the most prized items in any homes pantry, sugar.  Always covered and many with side slides to hold teaspoons that would scoop sugar one time only as to not dampen the sugar in the bowl. These silver pieces were also heavily decorated and featured flora and fauna typical of the era.
This lovely silver master sugar & spooner features a bird perched atop the lid.

Butter was an extravagance that only homes with refrigeration were lucky enough to have. With that in mind, butter also had an important role on a fine table. The master butter dish would feature a lid as well as a side mounted holder for the master butter knife. A diner would use the master butter knife to place butter on their individual butter dish and then use their individual butter knife.
This elaborate domed silver butter dish has a pulley system hidden within the top handle that allows the lid to be lifted for use and lowered after, all with a tiny chain. 
This is one of my favorite styles of victorian master butter dishes. The dairy cow handle and hooved legs make this a very fanciful and beautiful serving piece. It also has a side mount where the master butter knife rests.

This era seemed to literally have a serving piece for everything you could ever need on your table. Beautiful containers were the norm and they added to the elegance and opulence of the meal. Master vessels, whether simple or elaborate, made for the most spectacularly dressed table, which was every goal of all hostesses. Today, these century old heirlooms are now prized for their beauty over their usefulness, even though they may still be fully functional many of us have repurposed them to include them in our home decor.
Just for fun I wanted to share this example of a single victorian dinner place setting. This is where the statement "trial by fork" was born. I think we can see why.
Enjoy... and Happy Hunting!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Goat Cart For Me

I mentioned last month, in my post about antique goat carts, that I had terrible sellers remorse after selling not one but two of them over the last year. Yes, my husband will be rebuilding a crumbled cart that we have however, it is rather low on his honey-do-list. I had come to terms with the fact that I will just have to wait. Somehow, a little bird must have spread the word of my deep longing for a cart of my very own. Imagine my surprise when a charming older European couple, who have shopped at the store a few times, arrived at my booth during our Paris Flea Market. They asked if I would be interested in purchasing something that was in their car. It seemed like an interesting offer so I asked a couple of key questions as we set off to their car. It could not possibly be as good as it sounded... or could it?
Well here it is! My very own goat cart. Well, ok it is actually a pygmy goat cart. Who knew there was such a thing. It is much smaller than any goat cart I have ever seen but it was so cute I could not resist.
Just wanted to share the new acquisition. I am so happy to have it but have yet to decide exactly what I will do with it and where in the house or garden it will live. Come fall it will definitely be filled with pumpkins and gourds on the front porch. Since the size is a little different I thought I would put our little dog "Buster" in for comparison. He seemed to like it a bit too much. I think he actually wanted to be pulled about. Gotta love him!
Have a wonderful weekend. I will resume my treasure hunting at a flea market on Sunday.
Happy Hunting!