Thursday, April 19, 2018

Curbside Antiquing: A French Chair

 A very basic day began....
It was another cold day in Boston. 
And it was local trash pick up day so bags and boxes dotted the sidewalks.

Baby Reeve was in the backseat, and we were headed home from a trip to Lowes. 
We had picked up a toilet repair kit to fix a pesky commode. 
 While we were out, we hit Marshall's where we scored some puddle jumpers for Reeve. 
 Exactly what I was looking for, as I imagined her in these boots as my garden assistant
this spring and summer, if the weather ever obliges.
A perfect day in our boring but happy little world,
 when all of a sudden there it was.
I spotted something in a pile of trash on the drive home.
A glimpse of a rounded back French Chair with a painted frame.  
I was driving on the opposite side of the street so I couldn't just pull over easily.  
Instead I looked at it my rear view mirror, getting smaller and smaller.
I debated turning around and checking it out. 
 I told myself to keep going, we were almost home, and the chair 
was probably pretty ratty and falling apart.  
My sensible-self talked my Frenchy-antique-loving-self 
right out of investigating any further.

And I forgot about it....
until the next morning when I had to leave the house early,
 around 6 am to drive Mr. Maison Decor to a job site 
where he had left his truck the day before.
And then it hit me!! 
The trash trucks hadn't come!! 
And my Frenchy antique-loving-self got so excited!!

Because it was a holiday Monday, Patriots Day, 
all trash pickups were delayed one day.  
That meant just possibly, that the pretty French chair,
however ratty it may be, may likely still be sitting at the curb.
The stars were aligning!!
My sensible-self was no longer in the driver's seat.
I hoped it would be in great shape, a real antique, and one I could rehab.
A quintessential Louis XVI side chair, not unlike the chairs in Sharon Osbourne's home, above.
As we drove I  told hubs about the chair in the trash, 
and that I planned to circle back to see it it was there.
My plan was to do something with it, even if it was so ratty I couldn't use it indoors, I
would rip out the upholstery and stick a big pot of flowers
 in it and use it as a plant stand by the garden shed. 
Not sure if he was even listening to my plan....
 My gas tank was near empty, so I spent crucial minutes stopping for a fillup.
I was almost there....
as I turned onto the street, my heart sank when I saw
two trash trucks 
ahead of a line of cars on the very street where the chair was put out for pick up.
They finally pulled over to load trash and recyclables,
 so I sped by and raced to my destination.  
Past the the elementary school I drove where Piper
 and I have walked a million times...
I was almost there!
just around the the chair was still there?!!

Wouldn't someone have pulled it out already? 
 Shut up.  NO!! Think positive! Ok. 
Sitting up very proud and tall amongst the trash bags.  
 She was solid as a rock, and heavy too,
which meant she was an older chair.  
Her pale blue upholstery indicated she had lived a nice life
once upon a time, as did the gilding on her frame.  
 She is safe and sound now.
She plans to live Happily Ever After now, maybe even 
getting a turn in the pages of a French magazine. 
Curbside antiquing never felt so good.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Our Courtyard Wedding in Romantic Homes magazine and more French Chairs

 The May issue of Romantic Homes magazine is on the stands and inside you will find a nice little feature on the courtyard wedding we had last September.  The cheery yellow and white cover is hard to miss, so look for it in Barnes and Noble, grocery stores, Walmart and other places like that.
Look at those darling slipcovers on the chairs!! Lots of spring inspiration inside this issue,
as well our wedding feature.
 Here is a sneak peek, and it tells the story of how I conjured up the fairy tale theme with a French twist to guide the decorating angle of the wedding.  All the advice is applicable to throwing a party as well, so I hope you enjoy the narrative as well as the beautiful photos taken by Matthew Mead.
 Our wedding had guests arriving inside the home, and then ushered to the outdoor area where a tent stood waiting for the festivities, so both images inside and outside are part of the spread.
 Romantic Homes is my go to for French inspired romantic living ideas, 
and I am honored to be included.
As with any magazine feature, a lot of cuts must be made, yet some of my favorite images and elements were not shown. If you have read the article and would like to see more, this is for you!  It was hard to tell the relationship of each space to each other from the published photos, most likely due to our spaces being small and rather nook and crannyish. 
Here the tent looks up to the arbor where the wedding vows were performed.
 We used all the little garden spaces for different purposes, as you can see on the upper level where the bride and groom are chatting in front of the arbor, where they had exchanged wedding vows, with the Boston skyline in the background, while the musicians played in front of the garden shed.
The tent sat just below, beside the house in our small pea gravel courtyard.
 My favorite element in the wedding that didn't get mentioned was the live event artist.
Sheila Foley is one of the best in the business, and happens to live in the greater Boston area.
She came early and painted the background scene on her canvas, which was the interior of the tent leading to the cabbage garden and arbor where the vows were exchanged.  I love how she included the chandelier and tulle draped from the ceiling of the tent.  As the wedding progressed, Sheila added guests and the wedding couple into the painting, while we all ate, drank and made merry.

Before the festivities  I came out to see if everything was ready to go... Sheila is at her station with her art supplies and easel.  Because it had rained, we needed to set up a table umbrella to protect both artist and artwork!  
You can see the white picket fence beyond where the bride would emerge to climb the old stone steps to the grassy terrace to say her vows.  Sheila had the background ready for adding all the details, including champagne bottles, the french settee, floral arrangements and of course all the people!
This is a sneak peek collage of the painting progression so far!
I have been able to see bits of it on Sheila's Instagram account: @sfoleyeventpainter
I can't wait to reveal the entire painting and already imagine it in a fancy French gilded frame, hanging on our walls, reminding us all of that special day.
And one last garden element that was missing....
Our cabbage garden!
White Belgian mums and ornamental green and white cabbages planted in a formal layout. 
 The urns were filled with more cabbages and then roses in florist water vials 
were tucked in between the large cabbage leaves. 
Simple.  Elegant.  And very French.    
Speaking of French~ 
I had the good fortune to land a pair of plume back gilded chairs
in the Louis XVI style.  They are truly marvelous little chairs, all hand carved with gold leaf.
Destined for my bathroom for now.  I adore old and French, and these fit the bill.

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