antiquing (and other things) in Annapolis

1D114624-33B5-4965-9BFA-93A447F74416This weekend the weather was perfect, blue skies and low humidity, so we took a little jaunt down to Annapolis to take in the summer sights and do some shopping. It has been too long since we paid a visit to this lovely historic town, and it was nice to revisit some favorite shops and discover some new ones. Maryland Avenue, directly off the rotunda around the State Capital, is a quaint street with some of our favorite haunts. 1DC57626-E8C1-4712-868D-549A1D7CDAE81890BCC1-E32C-4FA8-9149-E8694B6366DBAt Evergreen Antiques and True Vintage you will find reasonably priced vintage and antique pieces. Proprietor Joanna Young has a great eye for the eclectic and elegant. She’s got the best selection of vintage clothing that I’ve seen in a while (I bought a yellow silk beaded shift dress right off the mannequin when I walked in). There is also a nice selection of artwork—interesting mid-century paintings and sketches with a Bloomsbury, Bo Ho feel to them.EB344734-68D5-44A3-AD5E-DB12180C299BF059625B-F196-4426-8652-198A97801A06629852D2-ED54-4B41-84B6-8B53D5C08B6DBlue Crab Antiques is an old-school shop brimming over with wonderful collectors’ items—mostly maritime themed pieces, but other beautiful decorative objects as well. There is an impressive collection of Wedgewood US Naval Academy Plates and stunning oyster plates for the serious collector.AC82E37A-CB5C-49EE-A079-8605765A73EF75408979-48BA-4675-8285-F6F8225B585396DD6CCB-869C-400A-89A1-F21B4F5D620A418A65BB-EB1D-4D93-A1C2-3038AF4820FDDBD34AE4-98D2-4E81-BCD6-C02D68D10401If you love used bookstores with volumes stacked everywhere and a shopkeeper who knows exactly where every book you ask for is located, then The Annapolis Bookstore is for you. It was certainly my kind of place! (I found a copy of Colefax & Fowler by Chester Jones for a steal and an MKF Fisher that I haven’t read and… you get the picture…)DDAB35FF-6DAA-4897-AAA5-25D9DE1AEE22996191DD-43FB-4BCB-BC64-8DA7351F5853B5244A1A-5858-464E-8C54-D8ACAE0F114C50B77D95-FD71-4EEE-9FBD-06095C43AD36Natalie Silitch’s shop has what I would call a Parisian coastal feel to it. There are striking pieces—like a black chinoisserie table, French tole trays and tables, botanical book pages (perfect for framing), herbarium pages (already framed), Florentine tables, coral pieces, and a gathering of charming small original paintings scattered around (perfect for vignettes and bookshelves and a great way to start collecting art for your home).  The main attraction is Natalie herself, an artist who creates and sells her whimsical folk art pieces.  1A6AAA78-8277-4480-8F87-A0F96C3CD124A15858E6-5DD3-4D22-93D0-FBA0B421DD142F7B58D1-5802-4A5A-A73D-9457DBEE82C1There are two wonderful shops for home interiors on Maryland Avenue as well. Be sure to stop in Peake House, which has two floors of beautiful and sophisticated pieces for a traditional look, and Be Home Annapolis, which has a lively and smart collection of home and gift items.

Of course there is much to see in Annapolis down closer to the docks and along the other side streets, which we walk just to look at the old narrow houses and be inspired by their beauty and their history. We ran into a bridal party rushing for photographs (the bride’s attendants wore a perfect colonial blue color and I couldn’t help sympathizing with the floral designer who worried that the bouquets were wilting!).D3D9C366-1C48-4E57-A45A-BE9B09EDB728


(All photographs by Michael Sneeringer, Jr @elsneero)

the art of the monogram (some basics and some inspiration)


Chessie Breen

Milestones call for monograms. Don’t you think?

As we are in the midst of wedding and graduation season with lots of showers and parties and receptions to attend (not to mention Father’s Day gatherings), I thought it would be a good time to talk about monograms. I love the fact that monograms are an old-fashioned kind of gesture and a timeless detail that can make all the difference. They make a gift even more thoughtful, and though they might make us think of our grandmothers, they are also a way to make a room look fresh, personal, and interesting.

But—there are so many choices. So where does one start?


Here are 5 basic things to consider:

  1. Decide on the basic style (classic, modern, masculine, feminine, etc.)
  2. Think about placement (middle, corners, front, back, etc.)
  3. Choose a thread color (bright, bold, soft, understated, etc.)
  4. Determine number and order (a helpful initial etiquette guide from Southern Living Magazine here.)
  5. Find out if the seller provides in-house monogramming or look for a skilled embroiderer.

I’ve gathered some images and ideas of monogrammed items for the home. And my sister-in-law, who is a very talented seamstress, recommends thinking outside the box by adding monograms to ordinary things like kitchen towels and handkerchiefs

Cathy Kincaid

While it might seem like there is a lot going on in the lead photograph, I think the monograms actually work as a calming feature as your eyes come to rest on them. And it’s such an enchanting mix of a plain double initial on the small romantic velvet pillow and a more whimsical triple initial on the other two larger pillows.

Interior designer, Cathy Kincaid often includes monograms in her rooms of many layers and patterns—again there is a sense of grounding that happens with the initials as accessories within these charmingly busy spaces.

Cathy Kincaid
James T. Farmer

James T. Farmer III, another designer fond of the monogram, shows how three patterns and one monogram style can pull things together in a bedroom and look very chic.

Version 2

A large, bold, and bright monogram in a child’s room adds a bit of sophistication. And I like that the style of this monogram is not overly childish, but something they could have forever (besides it’s never too early to start; I wish I had done more of this for my children).


I like how this casual, simple, and masculine monogram elevates this slipcovered headboard with side ties just a touch. Very handsome.

Leontine Linens

Jane Scott Hodges, founder of Leontine Linens and author of Linens: For Every Room and Occasion, has basically written the book on this topic. Or re-written I should say. Her approach is to create linens based on the past tradition but with a modern sensibility. Both her website and book are wonderful sources.

Leontine Lines

Table linens can be antique (in which case the monograms will already be there and even if it’s not yours, that is part of the charm), casual (like the buffalo check square napkin by James Farmer), fancy, or very simple.

House Beautiful

Notice how designers create table linens that pick up on patterns and colors and even the mood of the china itself.

Leontine Linens


James T. Farmer



Beautifully monogramed linens in the loo!



Last but not least, the slip covered dining room or occasional chair is always a nice statement for a room. I’m fond of the tone on tone look and the traditional three letter initial. But look how a simple one letter initial in pretty scrolled script dresses up an otherwise plain chair.


Barbara Westbook



To think of monograms as stuffy and old-fashioned (or, even, ironically trendy) is to underestimate their timeless ability to convey a lasting sense of art and craft and identity and beauty. They might just be the perfect touch you are looking for!



Friday mood board 5.31.19




So I’m in the throes of a master bedroom makeover which is long overdue (let me just say that I’m using the term “master” rather lightly here because our room is only slightly bigger than the others, has no en suite or walk-in closet. Its best features are a French door that leads out to a roof deck which we thought we would spend hours on but have found that we do not, original honey colored hardwood floors, and a pretty casement window that looks over the front walkway).


I knew I wanted an upholstered headboard and fell in love with this vibrant Richmond Green fabric from Ballard Design, so that fabric was the starting point. I’ve had a bed skirt made in the same fabric. At first I thought I’d accent with black (black check mainly), but quickly decided that I liked it with a touch of blue, like the photograph of the grape hyacinth and ferns that my husband took in our backyard (so many different kinds of things influence a mood board and thus a room). As an accent fabric that incorporates this touch of blue, I am on the hunt for this Colefax and Fowler print (hard to find here), but may substitute with a Manor House by P. Kaufman. As another nice compliment fabric, one that keeps everything down to earth, I’m using a basic green ticking.


Instead of drapes, I put up white linen soft Roman shades (here I was inspired by the lovely vignette and aesthetic of Giannetti Home in the lead photograph above). In keeping with this lighter look, I hope to update the furniture with some antique Swedish pieces, an armoire and dresser. I’m accenting with blue and white chinoiserie, gold elements, and vintage Florentine pieces, like the elegant stacking tables above.  I knew I wanted pastoral paintings framed in gold, and when I found this gorgeous image of a French country village painted in 1878 by Camille Pissarro, I love how it really pulls everything together—the palette and the mood that I want to create in this room.


As we know, mood boards are a starting point, a checkpoint, and should be changing as we move thru the creative process. I’d love to hear how you use mood boards in your creative life!


Holly (Brooke is off working in the real world for a bit!)