Tag Archive | antiques

An Old Church Cornice

No babies were harmed in the making of this blog post.

Healthy baby.

Healthy, happy baby.

My friend, who will remain nameless to protect her identity, and I had an adventure. On a recent excursion to Community Forklift, we spotted treasure: Antiquities!

Antiquities!

Antiquities!

Or something like it. It was definitely a cool piece of architectural…. something. Something that I knew I had to have. It turns out it was a cornice from an old church. A very dirty old piece of plaster, with foils and a cross in the middle.

The Art Piece.

The Art Piece.

Possibly, I was just delusional after loading 500 pounds of gravel into my friend’s car in 95 degree heat. But there was no price and I had to leave it behind. They let me put it on hold and wait it out until I was quoted a price.

They called me as I was almost home, to give me the price. I pulled over, sleeping baby in the car, and called my friend. I agonized for about 30 seconds about whether to go back and get it as it was slightly over the price I had decided was the limit. I had just helped her load 500 pounds of gravel, so she owed me a favor, and we both headed back to Community Forklift.

In the Dining Room.

In the Dining Room.

 Her simple statement, “it’s really beautiful” rang pure and true in my head.

Cleaned up.

Cleaned up.

When we got back to Community Forklift, I thought it would be easy. Baby was asleep. I ran in and paid for the antiquities in question. The air conditioning was still running in the car. Only I soon discovered it was too fragile and too big to fit in my enormous station wagon… together with the baby.

Ahhh the dilemmas we so often face in life. I considered whether or not to leave the baby behind. How do I manage to fit the art and the baby together in the car? The answer was clear: The art came home with me, and the baby went with my friend and the gravel.

A little worried.

A little worried.

The funny thing was, the baby was not the least bit alarmed by it all. Well, maybe just briefly, when she was sitting in her car seat in the parking lot; she did look a tiny bit worried. But I reassured her and said, “sometimes we have to go to extreme measures for art.” A valuable lesson indeed.

Old Church Cornice.

Old Church Cornice.

 And she was fine. Together we acquired a great piece of old art from an old church. And it was a perfect day, gravel and all.

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Advertisements

Hidden Treasure

The mini-tyrant and I had a very exciting morning. After sipping coffee together and throwing some blocks around, we photographed a finished dining room. A dining room that we helped create.

The Carpenter Dining Room

The Carpenter Dining Room.

It started with talk of paint colors, admiring the old chicken-feeder collection, and snowballed into cashing in some old savings bonds.

Antique Chicken-Feeders.

Antique Chicken-Feeders.

Actually, this entire makeover cost $500, including the bottle of gin on the mini-bar. (Note to self: always budget for alcohol when planning a reno.)

Pie safe and mini-bar.

Pie safe and mini-bar.

I worked with her existing furniture and drew her out of her comfort zone. A little at a time, we watched the room transform and got more excited as it went along. The ceiling is a beautiful blue, Benjamin Moore’s Sylvan Mist and the walls gray, Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece. The wall color is hard to define…. A little lavender, a little taupe or gray, depending on the light.

Testing out the paint colors.

Testing out the paint colors.

Dining room, before.

Dining room, before.

To be fair, my kids were playing with the play-doh.

To be fair, my kids were playing with the play-doh.

We rearranged the furniture and the homeowner was then inspired to hang some art she had hidden in the basement. A fabulous old woodcut block print of a flag with blue accents, which she hung above the pie safe. I cannot believe this treasure was hiding out in the basement!

Throughout this process, I would occasionally say, “You know what we need? We need a whatchamacallit…” and she would inevitably say, “Oh! I have one of those! In the basement!”

Antique dresser, in the bay window.

Antique dresser, in the bay window.

We brainstormed about the light fixture and I eventually convinced her it needed to sparkle. She chose the contemporary light, which adds drama with whimsical shadows, and has a black finish that is elegant.

View into the living room.

View into the living room.

She had to have the chandelier re-centered over the table, because originally the chandelier was installed about 18 inches off-center. This would have caused me to twitch. The new chandelier sparkles, and brings just the right amount of crystal bling into the room, and now, it is even centered.

A little bling.

A little bling.

 The adjacent living room was also painted Benjamin Moore’s Museum Piece. This keeps the rooms connected and feeling open. She added white sheer curtains and painted all of the trim a crisp white.

The rooms flow.

The rooms flow.

These rooms now look fresh and clean, traditional, but with a hint of the unexpected. The adjacent living room is updated and the whole space looks pulled together. It reflects the homeowners’ personalities completely. Traditional with a pop of the unexpected.

Here’s to basements full of hidden treasure, and to friends willing to step out of their comfort zone. Cheers!

© copyright 2013 Mariam d’Eustachio at Simply Turquoise.

Make Yourself at Home

Drumroll please…. 

Introducing Fellow Coastie, Ultimate Frisbee player, and friend, Bill Putnam. He takes incredible pictures and agreed to write a post for me. He is one of those people you feel a little bit jealous of, always jet-setting around and just enjoying life to the fullest. This post is pure blog candy.

And Now….

Hello fellow Simply Turquoise readers! I’m thrilled to contribute to one of my favorite spots to come when I want to sit down with a cup of tea, coffee, glass of wine or pint of beer and find another idea for making friends feel at home in the places and spaces I live in.

This is, after all, what Simply Turquoise is for me. Mariam is someone who seemingly knows no strangers and always has the right advice for making a space more welcoming. Perhaps that is why she was interested in having me share with you some words and photos from a city I recently visited again but have been to several times: Charleston, South Carolina.  It is a place where I’ve never felt like a stranger or visitor, a place where just walking around you feel invited down every street, around every corner, and into each café, restaurant, or store front.

Charleston, South Carolina

City Street in Charleston, South Carolina.

This essay won’t be a history lesson on Charleston. I’m not that well read. It’s old and new, it’s Southern yet somehow cosmopolitan, and it’s coastal and colonial. Most of all, to me Charleston whispers “hospitality”.  If you’re a regular reader of Simply Turquoise you’ll remember perhaps that Mariam has written about a symbol of hospitality, the pineapple. You’ll find it throughout this city: from bed post finials to flags on storefronts, and even as a fountain found down on the waterfront near Charleston’s own French Quarter (yes the city even has a slight ’Nawlins feel to it in places).

Pineapple Fountain in Charleston, South Carolina.

Pineapple Fountain in Charleston, South Carolina.

I’m not Southern by birth unless you use the Mason-Dixon as your line of demarcation for that. Born in Fairfax, Virginia and raised in Northern Virginia, those residents typically like to call themselves D.C. suburbanites. But my time in the Coast Guard has taken me all over, and it is how I came to be introduced to Charleston. So I’m a reluctantly adopted southerner, granted probationary belonging by my grandparents’ being North Carolinians, my love of sweet tea, and my ability to use the word “reckon” comfortably and in proper context.

Charleston, South Carolina cobblestones.

Charleston, South Carolina cobblestones.

It’s difficult to feel out of place in Charleston, unless you don’t like comfort-able.  You can wander seamlessly from the university district of the College of Charleston, where I tried mightily to sell my son on when he was shopping for schools and where there is that hip, edgy and creative personality everywhere between Coming and King Streets. Then as you cross south over Wentworth and find yourself on King in a shopping district mixed with high-end antique stores and the usual suspects of clothiers littered in all the new “town center” type developments you find everywhere, but which even here seem to have a unique charm, to the extent that’s possible.

Cemetery gates.

Cemetery gates.

One of the city’s nicknames is the “Holy City”. As you wander the streets around South of Broad you’ll see many church spires and wrought iron gates around cemeteries, with seemingly as many Spanish moss covered trees as headstones, all giving testimony to this well-earned moniker. And in keeping with the underlying theme of Charleston, even these places are not the cold intimidating off limits site of only those righteous or known enough to enter, they have their gates and doors open, inviting the passerby to come stay for a while.

Charleston Church Spire.

Charleston Church Spire.

And stay for a while is exactly what I want to do each time I visit this exquisitely contented city. There are still so many doors to explore and menus to try. Who knows, perhaps the name Putnam will fit as comfortably as Calhoun and Pinckney and I might also spend my day trying to decide which bronze door knocker looks best on one of the marigold-colored row houses, with pine grove green shutters and door. Or perhaps I already do fit in…that is after all how this city wants you to feel.

© copyright Bill Putnam and Mariam d’Eustachio 2012.

I Fish My Wish!

I have a Guardfish. Right now you are probably wondering, “What type of fish is that, and how does it taste”? I mean the kind that sits by the front door and watches over the house. You know, in case Cocoa is asleep on the job.

Guardfish.

So let me backtrack a little. I was shopping in a “nicer than I can afford” antique store and I saw this ceramic fish. I was intrigued by it, but I could not pay $65 for a ceramic fish. I went home a little sad, with no fish.

Ceramic fish.

A $65 Ceramic Fish.

The next day, I was shopping in the “a little more affordable GW & Co.,” and saw another fish. A plastic one for $4.44. I smiled and thought, “now this is more like it”.

I was so anxious to transform my fish before anyone actually saw what I had purchased, that I barely had time to get a picture in it’s original condition. I was even a little embarrassed by him in the checkout line. I always wonder what they think of my crazy purchases, but so it goes. One must suffer for one’s art.

Before Fish.

The fish is actually quite heavy for plastic, and has a bit of heft to him. I quickly slapped some white high-gloss paint all over him and let him dry overnight. I applied a second coat the next day and set him in the sun to dry.

During Fish.

 I love the shiny gloss finish on him. He is unexpected and a little bit quirky. Kind of like me.

Through the door.

Now, he sits by my front door in the vestibule and stands guard. Although admittedly, he is not very scary.

After Fish.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Snoopy Comes To Town…

Today, my dear readers, I have a treat for you. A peak into one of my dearest friend’s homes. This home was built by her husband, board by board, bit by bit, and is custom throughout.  Over the years, they have added touches of exotic flavor everywhere through subtle details. Even their two little French doggies are a perfect match for this home’s somewhat formal style.

AKA Chazaford and Foxanne.

Harley.

The breed: Coton de Tulear. (Yup. Go ahead and google it too.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, the dogs sort of fall into the category of “form over function” as they are cute but not so useful. Unless you are a burglar, in which case they will bark at you until you go deaf.

Every piece of furniture is carefully placed. The mix of antiques and casual comfort lends it a formal flair, without being stuffy. In the corner of the Family Room, old photos are hung to make up a “tree” of family.

Family Room.

Ceramic Side Table.

The retro touches here and there add a bit of fun.

The colors are soft and neutral, easily blending from one room into the next, with the occasional accent that says, Pop!

Wall Detail.

Recently, my friend stenciled an entire bedroom wall with a Moroccan pattern. The effect is gorgeous.

Moroccan Stenciled Bedroom Wall.

Dining Room Ceiling.

Dining Room Ceiling.

Paint is used throughout the house to accentuate the details and the craftsmanship. It brings attention to the moldings and here in the dining room, it draws the eye up.

However, my friend’s real passion is the garden. If you have a plant that you love, Beware!  It may go missing in the night! She will stop on the side of the road, get out her shovel, and dig up anything of interest.

Herons. One of many garden details.

This house is a unique blend of formal and casual style. It brings antiques into a comfortable setting and is unlike any other home I have been in. Even though it is relatively new in age, it retains the charm and elegance of an older home. My friend and I have been friends for nine years now and I have learned so much from watching her style evolve over the years. We have grown up together.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio.

Midnight Dumpster Dive

Last night I went dumpster diving with the President Emeritus of the Diamond Hill Historical Society. Inspired by a fabulous day at the Community Market, I ended up peering into the dumpster outside of my neighbor’s house, at midnight, all because of a light fixture.

What better way to end an evening of good company, wine, and catching up, than with a well-worn piece of reclaimed wood from the dumpster? I love Lynchburg.

The Community Market is a place to gather, run into your friends, shop for locally grown food, and to feast on a croissant from the best… bakery… ever.

With a full stomach, high spirits, and coffee, we walk around seeking inspiration. It comes easily in this place.

Nearby, we shop in the quaint antique stores. We are filled with the excitement that comes when you are on the prowl for treasure; but leave with only ideas swimming around in our heads and a mission: a mission to find a piece of reclaimed wood. Wood that we can use to recreate the light fixture we want, minus the $450 price tag. This is how we ended up in the dumpster at midnight, hauling out old boards full of nails.

Community markets and farmers’ markets are springing up all over the country as a way to support local, American-grown or American-made goods. This is becoming a way of life and not only leads to good food, great ideas, affordable art, but a healthy economy as well.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio

Rugs

Being half Armenian, I have some quirks I have to be wary of: hairiness, alcoholism, a desire for cars that I cannot afford, and a love of rugs. The kind that are hand-made of natural fibers, with rich vegetable dyed colors, and intricate designs. The rug for me is the foundation of a room. It is the source of my colors and design scheme. When I see a beautiful rug, I fall a little bit in love.

The first time I was truly inspired by a rug was in a flute lesson. My teacher stopped me in the middle of Fauré and told me to wait. He went to the couch and reached under it. He pulled out a heavy carpet and started to unroll it. It was truly breathtakingly beautiful. The flowers were weaving throughout it in vine patterns and the all-over design was shimmering with pinks, blues, and greens. It was so vibrant, it made my flute playing pale in comparison and I understood his point. I was told to leave the lesson and go to the nearby and little known textile museum. It was there that I was to find the inspiration to play better. This was the beginning of a love of rugs that has only become more of a passion for me.

Unfortunately, rugs are expensive. I am always on the lookout for a hand-made rug I can afford. Auctions, yard sales, convincing my Grandma she is tired of one she already has, and even pure luck. This beautiful Bakhtiari rug was given to me as a gift by one of my Dad’s friends, who we refer to as “Uncle Rug”. All he got in return were some roses.

The Bakhtiari rug is currently in my bedroom. It is very rich and reminds me of my Armenian heritage.

This rug was purchased at an auction. I had about 5 seconds to decide to buy it and I have never regretted it. I paid $75, which was pretty much our grocery money for that week.

I found this rug at a yard sale in Lynchburg. It is a Bokhara (meaning elephant stamp) rug. It has a silky sheen that I love and is currently in my living room.

 

 The Bokhara rug in my living room.

This rug, from Dubai, was another gift. Although “gift” is misleading here considering I kept two… troublesome dogs in my house for fourteen months. But the rug is fabulous and it makes quite a lovely little olive branch. It is made of silk and has the medallion in the middle. I love the green all through it.

When you are looking at a quality hand-made rug, notice the back. Is the pattern still visible on the backside of the rug? If so, it has a high number of knots per square inch. The more knots, the better. If it is made of wool, silk, or cotton, it will be easier to clean and will not retain odors. Is the fringe intact? These are all signs of a good quality rug.

 

The backside of the silk rug from Dubai.

My daughter had a nosebleed all over a sisal rug that ran in the hall from her bedroom to the bathroom. It was badly stained and would not come clean. I decided to paint it and that rug is currently in my kitchen.

If you are unsure of how to make your room feel complete, or if it lacks warmth, or you need a jumping off place, find a rug. It will define your seating area and add some glam to your room. You will not regret it.

© copyright 2012 Mariam d’Eustachio