from the archives: Hillwood Estate and Garden

Since we can’t visit many of the public gardens and museums that we love, especially in springtime, I have reached back into the archives to a rainy spring Saturday a few years ago. Hillwood Estate and Gardens is not in the countryside, but in Washington D.C., however while you are there you feel miles away from city life.  I hope you enjoy…

Continue reading “from the archives: Hillwood Estate and Garden”

weekend edit 6.14.19

Pamela Cook for Veranda Magazine

Around the House:  Silk 101

 I’m increasingly fascinated with the origin stories of decorative art objects and textiles. Here is an interesting short history of silk, the mysterious, luxurious, much coveted fabric, in this month’s Veranda Magazine. It includes plenty of modern day examples with sources and a chart describing the various kinds of silks still being made today. Think of it as Silk 101. I think you’ll enjoy it.

Floret Farm

In the Garden:  Are dried flowers making a comeback?

 It seems to me that dried flowers might be making a comeback. And I’m thrilled. After years of being pushed away, they appear to be dusting off their dismal reputation as lackluster throwbacks to the 80s. I’ve always thought that in the proper hands, they can be very pretty and even chic (for example, dried lavender topiaries are always nice to have). Flower grower and floral designer Erin Benzakein writes about how she has just discovered dried flowers here. I hope this is a trend because I’d love to see what this new wave of floral artists will do with this lost art.

Country Life Magazine

Out and About:  House hunting

If you are anything like me (that is, obsessed with houses of all kinds), you probably look at real estate listings on a regular basis. My own interests range from tiny cottages to large estates, houses within my budget and lots of them outside of it. This one is way outside my budget, but great fun to dream about: an old millhouse in the English countryside. And despite its price tag and amenities (a lake and a quaint bridge, barns, a wine house, formal gardens, and country meadows), it doesn’t seem to be too full of itself.  Have a look here.

Cheers! Happy Friday!


collecting: the stylish tulipiere


The story of the tulipiere starts with Tulipmania (1634-1637), when tulips were the new gold, costing a small fortune and bringing along with them high social status (Queen Mary II was a huge fan). It has been said (though there are some conflicting reports on this, but isn’t that the case with all good stories) that the potters and ceramicists of the day created the tulipieres so that the much coveted, outrageously expensive bulbs could be planted in the individual compartments of the vessel so as not to be disturbed or upstaged by any of the lesser flowers.


Others say that the tulipiere was not made for growing but for displaying the freshly cut tulips in an artful and practical way (as you may know, tulip stems continue to grow even after they are cut and placed in water and begin to get a bit unruly, in which case the tulipiere keeps them in place). Whatever the case may be, the Dutch, of course, made them first out of their delftware and these are the ones we are probably most familiar with.


Meanwhile, the tulip has come down, you might say (all of us non-royalty folks can get them now in the grocery store). And the story of the tulipiere seems to be having a second act. They are back in the spotlight, having their moment in the spheres of interior decorating, antique collecting, and floral design.

74371154-9438-4142-B30D-DC46D3014945Antique tulipieres can be pricey and hard to get your hands on, but if you find one that you love, it might be worth the investment. Some reproductions and vintage tulipieres are more reasonably priced and these are a good place to start for new collectors or those who want to use them as casual vessels for flowers.


And modern day artists  (like Frances Palmer and Matthew Solomon) are reinterpreting them in whimsical ways.

Happy Friday!






on my bookshelf: “Quiet Patterns”

Bird and Pomegranate (William Morris)

Two things are happening in our homes these days: we are back in love with wallpaper (It seems we were afraid of it for a while) and we are taking a holistic approach to designing our houses and decorating our rooms. That is to say, we are interested in beauty and our overall well-being. Of course I couldn’t be more pleased. But honestly it is Abigail Edward’s newly published book Quiet Patterns: Gentle Designs for Interiors that really got my mind going on this matter. In it she argues (softly) that, when incorporated properly, pattern (many of which are derived from nature and childhood images reminding us of the countryside or secret garden or enchanted forest of our youth) has the power to transform a space and to soothe our weary modern souls. Continue reading “on my bookshelf: “Quiet Patterns””

Larger Cross: an interview with shop owner Alice Minnich


Alice Minnich left the big city life to return to the countryside and to her roots. And it seems she has never looked back. After many creative endeavors in New York City, including culinary school, freelance food styling, and working for interior designer Alex Papachristidis, Alice started her own business and is the sole proprietor of Larger Cross, a studio and online shop based in Oldwick, New Jersey. Alice and I are virtual friends (as much as I hate that saying, it’s true), and after admiring her style from afar (she makes a hand broom look chic), and watching her skillfully balance the entrepreneurial with the creative, I reached out to see if she would be willing to chat with me and my readers. I’m so glad she did. As she put it, we are kindred spirits, and I think you will enjoy getting to know her as much as I have. Continue reading “Larger Cross: an interview with shop owner Alice Minnich”