Decorating@Nibs- Fireplace Mantels

What a stroke of luck! Just when I thought I was done with the series on fireplace mantels I got a call from the homeowners letting me back into their place for a few weeks. So…I put the ideas for place settings on hold and picked up where I left off in early June.

Fireplace Mantel #16- Toile de Jouy

One of my favorite fabrics is traditional Toile de Jouy. This is the type of print that can do it all- from walls to bed to furniture. For this display I even made a Toile mantel skirt highlighted by black ribbon.

1. Classic Toile de Jouy fabric from Joann’s

2. Eighteenth century print in the original frame

3. Glass urns filled to the brim with hydrangea

4. Staffordshire ceramic spaniels c. 1880-90 (these are my grandmother’s)

5. Book

6. This is the very same chair that appeared in my first mantel idea…only now it’s hidden beneath a Toile slipcover.

The hatbox is antique whereas the hat is a reproduction.

(Styling & photos- Martha B.)

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Decorating@Nibs Series


~candid spaces~

A series of photographs showing home interiors and gardens as I found them. No effort was made in styling.

Note- The Little Falls, N.Y. library was originally built as a private home. It was later acquired by the town. Other parts of the old house were altered to fit book shelves, etc. however this space was left pretty much alone and serves as a reading room.

(Photo- Martha B.)

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~candid spaces~

Decorating@Nibs- Fireplace Mantels

StyleFile #13: Fun Fireplaces

My Imaginary Magazine Cover- Saveur

My parents had an old apple tree on their farm in upstate New York. It was misshapen…almost ugly. And the apples from it weren’t that great looking either. But boy were they delicious. Mom would make the best applesauce or pies from them. The apples pictured here for my imaginary ‘Saveur‘ magazine cover come from a similar gnarled tree a few miles from our house. No one bothers picking them…except for me and the occasional deer.

(Photo- Martha B.)

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My Imaginary Magazine Covers – British Vogue, The World Of Interiors, This Old House, Marie Claire Maison

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Saturday Baking- Apple Crumble

Garden Note #71: Garden At Hick’s Farm

Scott and I visited the Hick’s eighteenth century farm in mid April of 2009. The trees were still bare that day and the air cold enough for us to wear our jackets. But that didn’t stop the local volunteers who were busy weeding and planting the beds in an enclosed garden.

Note- I’m hoping to make another trip out to the farm this fall.

(Photo- Martha B.)

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The English Woman


Looking back at Fall/Winter 1984- British Vogue dedicates an issue to the English woman’s past and future. Most notable in the introduction is the mention of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister (quite a leap forward from the suffragettes of 1911), Queen Elizabeth (regarded as the “accessible queen” when compared to Queen Victoria) and the new royal to watch- a young Princess Diana.

Looking back at Fall/Winter 1984- Many English actresses look across the pond at Hollywood hoping to make an impact with American audiences. Twenty seven years ago three confident women did just that- Jane Seymour, Lesley Anne Down & Victoria Tennant (above).

Looking back at Fall/Winter 1984- Grace Coddington, working as fashion editor for the magazine, and photographer Bruce Weber use the classic English garden as an inspirational backdrop to some beguiling images.

Looking back at Fall/Winter 1984- Model wears a flecked brown tweed suit by Cerruti and…

a creamy yellow cashmere sweater set with plaid wool skirt by GorRay.

Looking forward to Fall/Winter 2011- British Vogue reexamines the English woman and what makes her “wonderfully inscrutable” and “utterly unique.”

Looking forward to Fall/Winter 2011- Vogue mentions again Margaret Thatcher (now the “no-nonsense English matriarch“), Princess Elizabeth (her roll not as queen but as an ambulance driver during WWll) and a new royal to watch- Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge.

Looking forward to Fall/Winter 2011–  Many Actresses like Sienna Miller, Emma Watson & Felicity Jones (above) think nothing of searching in both England and abroad for films and television work.

Looking forward to Fall/Winter 2011- This season’s clothing is all about  nostalgia (peter pan collar shirts, printed dresses and cosy knits) modeled by  British woman Lily Donaldson. The backdrop is not an English garden but a tiny island off the coast of Sweden.

Looking forward to Fall/Winter 2011- Lily wears a Bottega Veneta  mohair/gabardine coat, Alberta Perretti sleeveless coat and Cos poloneck.

Looking forward to Fall/Winter 2011- Cool weather layering with a cotton dress by Paul & Joe and handknit cardigan from Missoni.

(Portrait of Victoria Tennant by Paul Lange, 1984. Portrait of Felicity Jones by Jason Bell, 2011. Fashion photos with Lily Donaldson by Tom Criag & Fashion editor Bay Garnett, 2011)

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Laura Ashley Catalog- Autumn/Winter 1984

A Photo From…British Vogue, September 1977