Springing around the House! Chinoiserie Chic & 1st Dibs obsession !

Spring at home
Spring at home
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It’s been a few weeks since I’ve changed some things at home to make it feel more Spring like. I’m always happy to bring back any blue and white accents especially anything Chinoiserie. Such a classic that will never go out of style.  I wasn’t going to share my spring “decor” because it is really very simple, nothing special, and that is kind of how I like it.

We are going through some changes at home and there is not time or special desire to decorate, but it is specially during trying times that we need the most that our homes cheer us up every time we are in there. My mother in law is 96 years old and has Alzheimer’s and Dementia.  With the help of her medications she is doing remarkable well, especially now that she has moved home with us. We kept her at her home the longest time possible, first with some help and later on with permanent help.

One day we realized that we couldn’t postpone it any longer, she had to move to a home where she could be monitored at all times. It is heart wrenching to see all the people there that once had full lives and families and are now reduced to not only a room but to solitude and silence and in some cases total abandonment… My mother in law seemed to be the only one getting visits and when asked, the personnel confirmed that impression….no totally but in many cases that was the reality…. I won’t go any further with this subject, it’s not the purpose of this post and I don’t want to make anybody who is taking a break reading this, sad.  This is temporal and she will have to return to a home but the time she is spending with us now has made her blossom. Her skin is rosier and she has no bed sores anymore…. Her appetite is excellent, like it was before and she is enjoying her home cooked meals with pleasure. The red puffiness around her eyes has gone down greatly and she seems more alert and happy.

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It is not the fresh decor and colors what make home pretty and happy but the gorgeous light that comes through the windows, inundating the house with happiness and warmth. The fact that we can open windows and let fresh air in, is something we can’t buy with money!  It’s a celebration of life! grass grows a fresh carpet everywhere and trees are dressed in bright, greens and dewy leaves, flowers grow everywhere at ease and days start earlier and last longer and longer everyday!  -The best color palettes are found in nature, green covering everything against bright blue skies with some sprinkles of white…Perfection!

I'm learning to edit better with these dark pictures..
I’m learning to edit better with these dark pictures..

No, design or decor are not going to make home feel like HOME, but they sure help a lot!  Bringing some nature inside, like flowers and flowering branches, changing accent pillows, perhaps slipcovering sofas in cotton or linen… Moving things around the house -like my bedroom lamps are now spending Spring in the living room- The right color palette and furniture placement can work wonders in our spaces.  Furniture placement could be life altering, no kidding! and bring the biggest transformations in front of our eyes.

We spend time and money in coloring our hair every few weeks (well, not actually me…I’ve stopped and have been looking like hell for a while..I hope it pays off and I will look splendid in fifty shades of gray soon! 😉  )  -but neglect to invest in painting our rooms or even a single wall the right color, we run to the salon to have a well deserved pedicure and manicure and to the mall to get pretty sandals and outfits… but sometimes we forget to do the same for our homes. Maybe is doubt what stops us, not being able to make up our minds or maybe is that we are stuck in a route. We get help for the kids for math and music, why can’t we get help with decorating our homes? At the end it saves money and lots of time and frustration, and makes a huge difference in our everyday lives!

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We are moving to Florida in a few months, to be closer to family. I’ll be traveling in a week there and will stay two months so I won’t be around much … Still, now it feels like Spring in the house and it make me smile every time I arrive home or just walk around!  Winter is always too long.
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I think that Indian goddess is gesturing “call me” right?!!!
light
light will always be a problem here…
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Battling with bad light for these pictures….

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Yes she is.

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India, China and Iran, living in perfect harmony, like in Michael Jackson’s and Paul McCartney’s song, Ebony and Ivory
Blanc de Chine
Blanc de Chine
Dancing Queen!
Dancing Queen!
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I bought that table in an auction, a long, long time ago, it was a farm kitchen table all full of dirt and oil marks…. we had somebody cut the legs and clean it up and has kept me company for a while…
Better with a big tray?!
Better with a big tray?!
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Some pieces I would like to own now: Blank de Chine
Some pieces I would love to own in a far away la la land!  From First Dibs: Blanc de Chine, figure of Guanyin, Qing dynasty.  $9,500. It seems to be the dollar sign but I’m a little afraid they meant Euros. Not that it would make any difference, of course!
Large chinese blue and white porcelain bowl, qing dynasty, Kangxi period
Large chinese blue and white porcelain bowl, qing dynasty, Kangxi period “Of octagonal panelled form, vividly painted in underglaze-blue with alternating figural and landscape scenes, including pine, prunus, chrysanthemum and carp, the interior with a central roundel enclosing a figure of a scholar within a further panelled border containing millet, prunus, bamboo, lotus, birds and insects” onlinegalleries.com Price: GBP 16,000.00 (Pound Sterling)
Antique Japanese box in black lacquered wood. $4,800
Antique Japanese box in black lacquered wood. $4,800
Cabinet in the Wardrobe in the State Apartments at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire. The eighteenth-century black and gold japanned cabinet has open shelves to display porcelain, and is attributed to John Linnell.
Cabinet in the Wardrobe in the State Apartments at Kedleston Hall, Derbyshire. The eighteenth-century black and gold japanned cabinet has open shelves to display porcelain, and is attributed to John Linnell. Founded in Theporcelainsleuth.com

Founded in   http://theporcelainsleuth.com/page/5/

light blue glazed porcelain bottle
Light blue glazed porcelain bottle vase, 1stdibs $9,000.  I love this one, such a pretty color and shape!

https://www.1stdibs.com/furniture/asian-art-furniture/ceramics/light-blue-glazed-porcelain-bottle-vase/id-f_1232410/

View of green and gold lacquer chinoiserie furniture in the State Bedchamber at Nostell Priory. The view also shows the Chinese wallpaper decorated with birds and peacocks.
View of green and gold lacquer chinoiserie furniture in the State Bedchamber at Nostell Priory. The view also shows the Chinese wallpaper decorated with birds and peacocks.  https://nttreasurehunt.wordpress.com/page/41/?archives-list

Isn’t that beautiful?!

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I love this one but couldn’t find it’s origin
Ralph Lauren, Chinoiserie table
Ralph Lauren, Chinoiserie table.  Absolutely perfect!
French gilt-bronze clock with putti on a lacquer cabinet in the Black and White Hall at Mount Stewart House, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
French gilt-bronze clock with putti on a lacquer cabinet in the Black and White Hall at Mount Stewart House, Co. Down, Northern Ireland.
Pair of large Sang de Boeuf glazed vases. You always need something red ;)
Pair of large Sang de Boeuf glazed vases. Early 20th century. 1stdibs, $4,500
You always need something red 😉
What's the edge: With a chic Champs-Elysées setting and Chinoiserie style, the Relais and Chateaux Hotel Daniel is an exotic escape in the heart of Paris.
With a chic Champs-Elysées setting and Chinoiserie style, the Relais and Chateaux Hotel Daniel is an exotic escape in the heart of Paris.
Pair of chinese
Pair of chinese “Pate sur Pate” blue and white porcelain garden seats $8,500. Also from 1stdibs.
Early 18th century chinese porcelain five piece blue and white garniture set.  Price $35,000. 1stdibs
Early 18th century chinese porcelain five piece blue and white garniture set. Price $35,000. 1stdibs
Pair of Imari vases
Pair of Imari vases, 1stdibs $12,890.07 Period: Loui XVI. I love the .07 cents… What the Heck?!
Pair of Chinese blue and white porcelain jardinieres on stands 19th century. $7,500
Pair of Chinese blue and white porcelain jardinieres on stands 19th century. $7,500. These are lovely!
Foo Dogs in Blanc de Chine porcelain $8,380, 1stdibs
Foo Dogs in Blanc de Chine porcelain $8,380, 1stdibs
Pair massive Phyllis Morris bronze dragons holding female nudes $18,500.  1stdibs.
Pair massive Phyllis Morris bronze dragons holding female nudes $18,500. 1stdibs.The colors are magnificent!
Pair of famille rose baluster vases. Price Upon Request...  1stdibs, seller William R. Eubanks.
Pair of famille rose baluster vases. Price Upon Request… 1stdibs, seller William R. Eubanks. Can you imagine?! Price upon request… yeah right, like the other prices  weren’t scary enough!

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English japanned cabinet of about 1690, at Saltram, Devon. John Hammond.

https://nttreasurehunt.wordpress.com/2010/08/18/desperately-seeking-symmetry/

Chinise export reverse blue and white baluster
Chinese export reverse blue and white baluster jar, $2,000
Carved Chinese coffee table, mahogany, SOLD
I love this table I found SOLD already in an auction…. Carved Chinese coffee table, mahogany, handcrafted with mortise and tenon construction.
Pair of Chinese turquoise glazed foo dogs on Ormolu mounts, 1stdibs, $7,517.47
Pair of Chinese turquoise glazed foo dogs on Ormolu mounts, 1stdibs, $7,517.47
Ralph Lauren
Ralph Lauren, I’ve been in love with this table for a few years!  Cannes Gueridon Table and  porcelain table lamp. The coffee cup and saucer and roses are beyond! just BEYOND!

And that’s it!  I had fun “shopping” at 1stdibs! What an amazing place… and it was free.  Like Coco Chanel said, “The best things in life are free, the second best are very, very expensive”!!!  I agree. That’s why I always choose the best, it is free.  Have a very good Friday and weekend and pay it forward. Always.

A Very Simple Fall Mantel

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Decorating the mantel for each season has to be one of my favorite things. It is always unplanned, that is the way I like it, at least at home … grab a few things from around the house and put them together having a good time, enjoying the process and playing, the same way I used to play with barbies when I was a little girl and also later on, not so little. Decorating their houses, mostly made of cardboard boxes and dividers (I think evaporated milk came that way at the time, I think wine comes that way still now) was my favorite activity along with designing their wardrobe, and since we were eight brothers and sisters, there were always plenty empty boxes available to play with. Those dividers were a dream come true, I was able to change the rooms distribution any time I wanted! (designers dream!)

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This year I wanted to keep things simple, made a promise to myself about not over thinking so stuff gets actually done!  The problem was when I thought about making a post about decorating the Mantel for Fall, I felt the need to “finish” it, to make it better.  Moving things around I “discovered” I needed to purchase a few items … I don’t want to buy more stuff, I really want to spend more time living and enjoying than trying to make things perfect…good is good enough, right? or at least it should be, so…I didn’t buy anything! (Who am I?!   I don’t know this woman!)

These are some pictures of the mantel with a few variations…couldn’t stop myself from playing with the things and broke one of the candle-holders!  I would had liked the moss balls to be bigger and some of the pumpkins to be smaller… oh well, what a surprise!  Isn’t that the way it always goes for everybody?

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Taking pictures with my iPhone is not very professional, I know! the indoor photos look gloomy and colorless and the definition is not that good…This looks so greenish, yellowish, “horriblish”… it looks so much better in person. I promise! perhaps I should upgrade to an iphone 6, just never wanted to do it only because it came out, don’t understand the need to have the latest gadget when I know for sure I barely understand all I could do with the one I already have… that is at least my impression.

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The two windows flanking the fireplace are facing north and this particular area between the two of them is a bit gloomy… There is a big mirror on top of the fireplace to bounce the light coming from other places and a light above it, but for some reason it isn’t enough…very unnatural and cold light!   I know I could do better, but since we’ve been almost moving several times… it wasn’t worth the hustle, or so I thought … it is always worth the hustle!

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I’ve been in love with old silver forever and always have fun imagining where those old pieces could have been…I am a romantic, what can I say…the images in my head are pretty stunning… extremely handsome, elegant, well spoken gentlemen, walking around trying to capture the glance and imagination of  breathtakingly beautiful women exquisitely dressed and coiffed ….everybody is having a wonderful time, conversations are interesting, intelligent and passionate and ….nobody is texting!  The settings are old hotels with amazing architecture and furniture you only dream of  and old mansions full of history and romance, the kind we rarely see anymore …. and of course, All this VERY unlikely to have ANY relationship with my silver pieces found at second hand stores, flea markets or state sales!  No connection to reality whatsoever! … but hey! It is my imagination, right?! No need to be timid or frugal there… no budget restrains!

Coming back to reality I should say, I like freshly polished silver as well, occasionally I prepare a “special solution” to clean it, mostly around the holidays, you only have to line the sink with aluminum paper, fill it with hot water, add the non toxic ingredients I found on Pinterest and Voilà! Just submerge the pieces for a while and they all come out shining and reflecting light everywhere… brilliant!  (Specially when I didn’t have to polish it!)  Soon I will share the formula, it is like magic! I only want to make sure I know how to properly credit the source.  Did I mention that I have an obsession with light? I need it bad, I love spaces filled with natural light and a great lighting plan, that is a must ! You can lose almost everything you’ve accomplished, design wise if you don’t have the right illumination….

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Don’t you think silver pumpkins are gorgeous?! I do, they are just so pretty and elegant!  It’s like they decided they didn’t want to be “loud” like their lovely, more common orange sisters!  These grayish pumpkins are the snobs of the family along white ones! Orange ones are the happy eternal teenagers… Too bad the light didn’t help me here and the gorgeous gray pumpkin  looks almost a shade of one of Pantone’s pastels for 2015…. I had yet to put a candle inside the orange goblet and it was and is bothering me immensely!  Candlelight is so pretty, romantic and soft…. I find it flirty and happy!  Few things can claim they can do for ambiance and mood what these little wonders do!….Contained fire…Do we even realized what we have with candles?! It literally is Contained Fire!!! anywhere we want them, whenever we want them! Awesome! Genius! Priceless! Brilliant! yes, very bright indeed, CANDLES bring magic to every space and make the ordinary look extraordinary!

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That branch with the “caramel drops of Autumn” tilted the vase and went too low, wasn’t intentional… looks bad!

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This is a small space so I should keep it simple… but Fall makes me feel warm and cozy inside and sometimes has me longing for the cluttered look of lived in spaces… I think it’s the same feeling we experiment during Fall and winter when we wrapped ourselves in soft blankets and cuddle in our favorite chair, sofa or bed (yes, more likely a bed..) and lose ourselves in a book or a movie, even a cheese one, a “chick” movie my boys used to call it … and then they watched it with me and even liked it!   (Omg… those sweet memories … I’m not going to cry!)

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I took a couple of things out to create some breathing space, what it’s called negative space, it is as important as all the stuff you want to display, your eyes should be able to rest and travel from one thing to the other with ease, there should be a nice flow and harmony among all the pieces in the composition, here it works because your eyes can take all in without being overwhelmed with too much clutter… almost!

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– Not so much here though!

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So… this is my mantel for the season, sometimes you should go with your impulse and if you like the result, if it makes you happy, then that’s the right one for you at that particular moment,  if you get a pleasant feeling, go with it!

UPDATE -As the season progressed and the bright days of Fall got darker and bare, I felt the need to add color to the mantel and home to replace what we lost outside. Here are some pictures, that for some reason have better light than the previous ones that look so bad…

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That poor pumpkin is dying!…. Hold on baby! Only a couple of weeks to go! You don’t want to be called rotten… do you?…

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The leaves outside are almost gone… That makes me sad… everything is turning gray and dark so I needed to brighten up the mantel inside

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And that makes me happy!

My entrance table
My entrance table

That was it, I didn’t mean to talk forever about so many different things…hopefully it doesn’t read that way…