Secret rooms and Playhouses

This morning the New York Times Home section has a story on playhouses. I remember going over to my friends house and playing in her playhouse all day. It was even decorated with little curtains. The Times showed little houses that are completely over the top, yet very traditional. Like these from Treasured Heirlooms.

But there are so many different secret spaces that can be created for kids that are both inviting and very dreamlike. I keep a file of inspiring little spaces. Here they are...

Love this little house My Shabby Streamside Studio...

See you...


Christmas time

This time of year creates some of the nicest light. It's not just the  beauty of the artificial lights, I mean the  low sun light in the sky. The long shadows and red sky that are on display this time of year is magical. Our very good friend from Luxembourg told us once that the sky is red because the angels are baking. Love that! Last year We had some of Miles' family over for Christmas.   I wanted to eat around dusk in our sun room.  So we all piled in. I removed the chandelier over the table so we could fit a prancing reindeer as our centerpiece.

My flower arrangements are always quite simple. The tin containers are French gardening pots, the salt cellar is 19th century American and the pepper grinder is antique Christofle.

I lined the sideboard with old linen feed sacks and out came my collection of antique American sterling..

We put the Christmas tree in the sun room as well. The ornaments have such memories attached to them.

When the kids were really little, I went to a very special estate sale. I remember driving through windy roads and reservoirs to get to this small home under huge pine trees near a pond. The house was owned by set designers, who worked on Broadway in the 1930's. As  you entered the front door , the staircase greeted you in a happy turquoise. The couple created an enormous dollhouse out of one of the bedrooms. I purchased only a few items from that magical house...

My favorite items are these boxes made out of cigar boxes. I have no idea what they were used for. They really are a fine example of folk art. I put them in a sled and they sit near our tree...

It was the first time I visited the little town where the magical couple lived. It's name is Armonk, NY.  Now the home of Cici Crib!

Merry Christmas.

See you...


It's time for the Nature House

Every holiday season we reserve  a weekend afternoon to go to the New York Botanical Gardens to see the Holiday Train Show. My teenage boys still enjoy the visit, but more for it's nostalgic content. It was a real moment of excitement when the boys were little.

This year's new addition is Sarrinen's TWA building..

The creations are made by a low key guy, Paul Busse.  I struck up a conversation with him one year at the show. His group of guys come up from Kentucky and stay at the Ardsley Motel.  Yes, that was their lodging budget.  I told him how inspired I was by his creations. When the kids were little, we made our own nature house. Not at all as impressive as Mr. Busse's creations, but just as fun for us.

Our nature house is part of our Christmas decoration that makes an appearance each season. It is one of many boxes that come down from the attic.

The structure of the house came from a cheap kit dollhouse. The aluminum basin was made by my HVAC guy.  We found all the natural materials in our neighbor's and our yard. The siding is from birch tree. The roof is from branch of an oak tree. We found shelf mushrooms and acorns and bittersweets. The fake  green moss came from Martha Stewart catalog. The window glass is "antique glass" from a mirror and glass shop.  And the fence was purchased at a flea market one hot summer day .  Three hours at a flea market  in 100 degrees and all I had to show for it,  was the fence. The perfect fence for the nature house. I was thrilled!

See you...


The Forest Floor

Nature decor will definitely be a reoccurring theme in my blog. I am forever inspired by the outside natural world. Our family's annual ski vacation was in Stowe, Vermont this year. I was able to steal away one morning from skiing to check out some of the local shops.  I found a beautiful antique shop, Alpine Home.  Alpine Home is owned by an  energetic woman named Cheryl Shields. Cheryl shares her time between Stowe and NYC. She is a nomad shopkeeper. From Maine to the Hamptons, she finds little places to hang her sign.  Not only does she search the world for weathered antiques, but she also forages  forests to make her  creations.

I am apologizing in advance, as my photos were taken with my cell phone. My camera was left in the ski jacket.

She creates this enormous canopy from grape vines and feathers. The fabric is velvet. It almost looks like an enormous birds nest. Her chandelier is made out of branches that have been painted white. It is an enchanted forest. It reminds me of a children's book, The Story of the Root Children(carried at Cici Crib).This book was published for the first time in the 1920s by Sybylle von Olfers. The root children live underground and come up  when awakened by Mother Earth in the early spring.
The Root Children
The root children would definitely use these night lights that just came into the shop last week. They were created by two sisters in England.

Happy dreams.