Enjoy the Longer Nights

It’s here:  Eastern Standard Time, that sure harbinger of cold weather and long, wintry nights.  Embrace it this year with just-right lighting.  Here are a few tips and some designer inspiration on how to make the most of it:

Rethink tables, too. The industrial chair makes a playful perch for some much-needed lighting.

Rethink tables, too. The industrial chair makes a playful perch for some much-needed lighting.

TIPS

1.  Turn off the overhead lighting in favor of floor and table lamps.  You’ll feel the softness right away.

2.  Place lamps in corners of rooms, and turn them on.  The illuminated corners wrap the space in warmth.

3.  Create cozy reading spots with a very comfortable chair and stylish, effective lighting.  Choose 3-way bulbs for this space.  Sometimes you’ll want the quiet, low light, but when you’re reading you’ll be happy to have that extra brightness right where you need it.

To read these books, you'll need the light coming from this cherub lamp.

To read these books, you'll need the light coming from this cherub lamp.

4.  Invest in candles, fake and real.  The flicker of candlelight is one of the happiest details you can add to your home this season.

candle light dinner

DESIGNER IDEAS

I love to put a lamp on a long dining table. Clear one end, and put the light and all the food and flowers there. It makes a lovely still life and floods the scene with warmth.” —BARBARA BARRY

“We designed a dismally dark New York apartment on a low floor, where all the rooms faced a brick wall. We installed full-spectrum lightbulbs all around the window frames — eight bulbs per frame — and then I hung elegant plantation shutters with very wide louvers. You tilt the louvers in any direction and they scoop up the light and shine it up to the ceiling or down to the floor. The electrician and I rigged up a timer tied to the fall and spring equinoxes, so that the light changes throughout the day and year, simulating the arc of the sun across the sky from east to west. It looks real!” —ERIC COHLER

Play with shapes in lamps and their surroundings.

Play with shapes in lamps and their surroundings.

Look at what a spot of warmth that lamp provides.

Look at what a spot of warmth that lamp provides.

This beautiful bed by Caroline Westbrook (of Caroline Westbrook Home) is made so much more inviting by the charming bedside lamp.

This beautiful bed by Caroline Westbrook (of Caroline Westbrook Home) is made so much more inviting by the charming bedside lamp.

Who’s really going to miss the sun, with such fabulous lighting options available indoors?

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A day in the life . . .

led detail

We've been getting the barn ready for our tag sale this weekend (Friday - Sunday this week). Plus, we've been hauling furniture to Lucketts for the great Spring Market held there this weekend (Saturday-Sunday).

Here’s a snapshot of  ’a day in the life of a Chartreuse girl’:

Chartreuse & co trucks it to Lucketts!

And here are some photos of the best little truckers on earth:

Here's the crew in after filling just one of the four box trucks we loaded and took to Lucketts today.

Here's the crew after filling just one of the four box trucks we loaded and took to Lucketts today.

That last caption was a lie.  These are the guys who really make it happen.  We just show up for the photos and look cute.

That last caption was a lie. These are the guys who really make it happen. We just show up for the photos and look cute.

Here we go!

Here we go!

Okay, this is where you really get to see what's going on behind the scenes.  Look closely at all the fabulous stuff.  We were all so excited to see what each other brought, that it was very difficult to focus on all the hauling . . .

Okay, this is where you really get to see what’s going on behind the scenes. Look closely at all the fabulous stuff. We were all so excited to see what each other brought, that it was very difficult to focus on all the hauling . . .
Here we are, showing off the cool signs Molly has made for the sale.  Just look at how all that great stuff (4 box trucks' worth) is stacked in there, just waiting for us to pull it onto the floor and work our magic!
Here we are, showing off the cool signs Molly has made for the sale. Just look at how all that great stuff (4 box trucks’ worth) is stacked in there, just waiting for us to pull it onto the floor and work our magic!
But honestly, we couldn't do it at all without these terrific (and very strong!) fellows to help us out.  Thanks guys!

But honestly, we couldn't do it at all without these terrific (and very strong!) fellows to help us out. Thanks guys!

Wow! All our fabulous finds, crammed into that space.  Exactly how are we going to get it all set up, decorated, and ready for you by Saturday morning?

Wow! All our fabulous finds, crammed into that space. Exactly how are we going to get it all set up, decorated, and ready for you by Saturday morning?

Ooh,  can you pick out your favorite treasure from this tantalizing photo?

Ooh, can you pick out your favorite treasure from this tantalizing photo?

All that, and look how amazing the barn is right now!  We're open Friday-Sunday this week.  It's fabulous, fresh, and ready!

And look at the goodies filling the barn this weekend! We're open Friday-Sunday this week. It's fabulous, fresh, and ready!

This 120+ year old chandelier was originally gas powered.  Yup.  It’s the real deal!

I just LOVE this amazing, 11' long farm table.  It's absolutely perfect for al fresco dining.  It's a jaw dropper!  And I love it with the adorable little industrial stools.  Grab a glass and have a seat!

I just LOVE this amazing, 11' long farm table. It's absolutely perfect for al fresco dining. It's a jaw dropper! And I love it with the adorable little industrial stools. Grab a glass and have a seat!

Stunning vintage statue!  Her wear gives her just the right patina.  While she'd be fabulous is your garden, imagine her atop a french chest or a rough table.  Stunning!

Stunning vintage statue! Her wear gives her just the right patina. While she'd be fabulous is your garden, imagine her atop a french chest or a rough table. Stunning!

This diminutive server is so versatile.  As a hall stand, converted to a sink vanity, tucked into the small guest bedroom.  And the color/paint treatment is so neutral and sophisticated.  Love it!!

This diminutive server is so versatile. As a hall stand, converted to a sink vanity, tucked into the small guest bedroom. And the color/paint treatment is so neutral and sophisticated. Love it!!

Donna of Hunt & Harvest has found, and put together a great collection of vintage items.  Notice how the grouping, assembled like that, makes each piece more significant.  Collections, displayed together, make a statement in your home.

Donna of Hunt & Harvest has found, and put together a great collection of vintage items. Notice how the grouping, assembled like that, makes each piece more significant. Collections, displayed together, make a statement in your home.

Distance is nothing to us, if it means great finds!  Lew of Bountiful Harvest just returned from the big antique fair at Brimfield, Massachusetts.  It was days of great shopping, and she brought her treasure back to share with you this weekend.

Distance is nothing to us, if it means great finds! Lew of Bountiful Harvest just returned from the big antique fair at Brimfield, Massachusetts. It was days of great shopping, and she brought her treasure back to share with you this weekend.

See you this weekend!

Virginia

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Back from Texas!

Wow!  I’m back from my annual pilgrimage to Round Top, TX for the great Texas Antiques Week.  It was filled with drama (collision w/ a motorcycle, fire ants and WD-40, serious misunderstandings with our shipper, just to name a few) and great finds.  My favorites are the fabulous vintage textiles I found:  vintage French monogrammed bedding, scrumptiously soft German feed sacks, charming French tea towels, a bolt of pristine French table linen, intricately designed Hungarian table coverings, and hand-worked cotton pillowcases.

Hungarian table clothes, German feed sacks

Hungarian table clothes, German feed sacks

Handworked linens,  striped French tea towels

Handworked linens, striped French tea towels

Beautifully handworked pillowcases

Beautifully handworked pillowcases

Yes, I brought 43.5 lbs. of textiles home in my checked baggage, and another 15-20 lbs. came home via UPS.   I may need an intervention.  This does qualify as a problem, doesn’t it?

We spent 6 days in Texas.  More details to come.  For great pictures of our adventures, click on the pictures below:

Maria looking elegant as I snap a picture of this beautifully crowned Madonna

Maria looking elegant as I snap a picture of this beautifully crowned Madonna

Come see some of these treasures this weekend at our Tag Sale, April 16-18.  Click on the pictures below for previews of this month’s sale:

Yummy linen bedding on an elegantly simple bed - perfect!

Yummy linen bedding on an elegantly simple bed - perfect!

Wear sturdy shoes – it’s going to be muddy.

See you soon,

Virginia

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Just Add Flowers

Yes, I love the snow.  No, I don’t love shoveling it.  And, yes, it takes FOREVER to shovel through 3-4′ of snow!

How many days, how many times did we have to shovel snow this week?!?!

But with that behind us (at least until Monday, when, yes, they’re calling for MORE SNOW!), I look ahead to the first flowers of spring:

I don't usually even like grape hyacinths, but the fresh, simple shape and color of these enthralled me.

I don't usually even like grape hyacinths, but the fresh, simple shape and color just makes me smile.

And this brings me to my other focus these past weeks:  our upcoming February Tag Sale.  Yes, we’re having it as planned!

loader clearing snow

DSCN9842As soon as I was able to get into the barn, I grabbed my camera to shoot some photos of what the Chartreuse girls have in store for you this month.

Here’s some of the highlights:

tole chandelier w/ shade

tole chandelier w/ shade

They're all over the store, looking like a garden by themselves!

They're all over the store, looking like a garden by themselves!

Okay, this is the last one I photographed, but isn't it adorable!?!

Okay, this is the last one I photographed, but isn't it adorable!?!

Love the swedish clock, garden urns, and chippy door together.

Love the swedish clock, garden urns, and chippy door together.

These totally real-looking leaves are fantastic as placemats, a runner, anywhere you want life and green!

These totally real-looking leaves are fantastic as placemats, a runner, anywhere you want life and green!

A vintage flower power clock - in daffodil yellow - perfect!

A vintage flower power clock - in daffodil yellow - perfect!

Get playful, and colorful, with this elephant pillow - the cool ikat-style pillows have a matching ottoman!

Get playful, and colorful, with this elephant pillow - the cool ikat-style pillows have a matching ottoman!

This mammoth basket/crate has to be one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time.  The patina is THE BEST!  aged wicker, canvas, and leather.  It's just too cool!

This mammoth basket/crate has to be one of the coolest things I've seen in a long time. The patina is THE BEST! aged wicker, canvas, and leather. It's just too cool!

Great storage piece with excellent detailing.  Dress up that flat screen's home!

Great storage piece with excellent detailing. Dress up that flat screen's home!

Okay, here's the best for last - these delightfully hand-painted pieces sport the prettiest toile scenes!

Okay, here's the best for last - these delightfully hand-painted pieces sport the prettiest toile scenes!

And would you believe we’ll be bringing tons more in this week as we get ready for you?!?

If you’re coming to our sale this weekend, be sure to wear your boots, and park in the school lot next door.  We’re ready for you, even if our parking field isn’t!

See you this weekend!

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Embrace Winter, Plan for Spring

It’s winter.  It’s cold.  It’s grey.  And I’m lovin’ it.  Why,  you might ask.

I love this view out our huge glass windows along the north side of the house.  I love spending cold days curled up in one of our down sofas, sipping tea in 'the glass room.'

I love this view out our huge glass windows along the north side of the house.

I love the long nights for cozying up with a good book.  I love the grey afternoons that just beg for a pot of tea.  I love having my girls home for a little while.  It’s all good.  My grandmother, Virginia, always said that every age has it’s compensations.  I’d say that every season has its compensations as well.

I’m embracing this winter.  And I’m doing so with contrasts.  With the icy greyness outside, I’m creating gardens inside.  I’m creating crisp, clean space.  But I’m softening it with warm lighting and down cushions.

Faux greenery lasts all winter, as do the gardeny, iron lamps

Faux greenery lasts all winter, as do the gardeny, iron lamps

Planning ahead:

I’ve also just made plans for my favorite ‘business trip’ of the year:  the fabulous Roundtop, TX Antique Week this spring.

And it’s not just the great stuff I love.  It’s the excitement, the party, the great food, and, most of all, the inspiration I get from the amazing, creative, sophisticated, and forward-thinking designers and decorators who merchandise the amazing displays that cover acres of Texas hill country.  Check out these pictures from last year.  You’ll see what I mean:

Check out the contrasting textures and how they add so much to this simple display.

Check out the contrasting textures and how they add so much to this simple display.

Robin, of Flea Market Chicks, and I loved it all, in spite of the rain!

Robin, of Flea Market Chicks, and I loved it all, in spite of the rain!

A feast for the eyes!  I just wanted to live in this space!

A feast for the eyes! I just wanted to live in this space! The lamps and all the fabric on the walls create such an inviting space. And the unity of tone and color is totally soothing.Each tent (and there were miles of fields filled w/ tenets!) was loaded with goodies, displayed so temptingly.

Tarnished silver, mossy ferns, a concrete urn.  Simple.  Beautiful.

Tarnished silver, mossy ferns, a concrete urn. Simple. Beautiful.

Creative uses and display ideas for all that vintage ephemera we love.

Creative uses and display ideas for all that vintage ephemera we love.

Notice how the variety of shapes and textures draws your eye, while the restrained palette holds it all together.

Notice how the variety of shapes and textures draws your eye, while the restrained palette holds it all together.

Like the walls?  They're covered in rumpled kraft paper!  Great idea for a party, or quickly shaping up a rough space.

Like the walls? They're covered in rumpled kraft paper! Great idea for a party, or quickly shaping up a rough space.

Sometimes it's just about scale.  This garden display wows you because of the over-the-top scale of that amazing metal ball.

Sometimes it's just about scale. This garden display wows you because of the over-the-top scale of that amazing metal ball.

I'm a bit of a nut for the written word.  Check out this playful way to enjoy vintage postcards, weathered pages from books (or even try old sheet music!).  Of course the taupe grey walls are the perfect, faded type color to complement it all.  The milkglass is another nice textural element.

Use this technique with vintage paper, sheet music, old photographs. The charcoal grey walls are the perfect contrast. The milkglass is another nice textural element.

Don't be shy about opening your vintage finds, and displaying their beauty and interest.  You will find yourself enjoying your things more when they are displayed in a way that invites you to touch them and explore them.  Try it!

You will find yourself enjoying your vintage things more when they are displayed in a way that invites you to touch them and explore them. Try it!

I’ll take loads of pictures this year, too.  And you’ll be the first to see them.  I promise!

In the mean time, embrace your winter, and plan for spring!

Talk to you soon,

Virginia

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Seeking inspiration . . .

I’m looking for inspiration. But then, as I think about it, I realize that I always am. What’s my go-to source? Probably the same as yours: magazines and websites! I love them. I love the brevity, the feel, the look, the pictures, the captions (do they actually have written articles, too? I’m not sure . . .)

Here’s a sampling of what makes me happy right now:

Soothing colors, great texture.

Soothing colors, great texture.

My house is of the era of this one, and I just LOVE the use of the soothing grey walls, white trim, and reed blinds.  What a great way to lighten up an otherwise serious room.

There's never too many books.

There's never too many books.

Check out the library below, brimming with books.  A favorite detail:  the picture hanging from the bookshelves.

Here’s a departure from the neutrals, yet the print (in my favorite color!) put together with quieter elements (and, of course, the sun-drenched lighting doesn’t hurt) still creates a comforting room.Could toile be making a come back?

Could toile be making a come back?
Efficient living!

Efficient living!

My poor plants die way too often.  What a great solution!  Shower them while you shower yourself.  But seriously, wouldn’t this wake you right up each morning?

And on the Chartreuse & co front:

House Beautiful has featured two of our hooks in this current online issue:

One of my all-time favorites.  It's the bird that gets me.

One of my all-time favorites. It's the bird that gets me.

Love the lead grey of this cartouche design.

Love the lead grey of this cartouche design.

The shop will be open for just one day this month – January 16th.  It’s too cold to do any more than that, so mark your calendar, and don’t be late!  Doors open at 9am.

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Shaking off the holidays . . .

The end of the holidays often lets me down.  There’s all that build up, and then, CRASH!  You’re done.  No more Christmas music on the radio, denuded trees are dumped on the curb.  Nothing is left but coldness and long, dark nights.

A dear friend of mine suggested we all just decide to leave up the Christmas lights throughout the month of January.  Let’s face it.  January is depressing.  Why not leave up the cheery lights and festive displays?  Is there something bad about them?  As for me.  My tree, and all my decorations, stay up at least through the 12th day of Christmas:  the Epiphany on January 6.  I still get happy popping over the hill and seeing our 11 foot tree brightly lit and guiding me home.  It may just stay up all month . . .

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Holidays? Really?

warm holidaySomehow the holidays have totally snuck up on me this year.  Why?  How?  Aren’t they supposed to be full of joy, hope, and warmth?  Why the sneakiness?

Nonetheless, they are approaching and the spirit is wrapping me up.  The shop is totally charming right now, and once the music started (enhanced by all the twinkling lights!) I found myself caught up in it, too!  (Of course the Chartinis at the Kick-off party didn’t hurt, either!)

I just love the variety of colors and moods everyone has brought to this Christmas season!  Like the earthy warmth of this scene.

DSCN9493Or how about the cool, funky flavor of these playful, pink trees?!?

And don’t you just love that amazing vintage brocade pillow?  You can be jealous now: I’ve already got 4 stockings ready to hang, made from that same great fabric – you’ll get to see them in all their glory at our Christmas Open House the first weekend of December.

Here are some more of my favorites from soft brown velvet to elegently inscribed butterfly ornaments:

love the shape of these chairs!DSCN9468

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I’m off now to finish planning for our amazing, first-in-my-lifetime, trip to the Metropolitan Opera in NYC.  The girls and I (for them a quick break from college, for me a quick break from life . . .) are running up there this weekend to enjoy Puccini’s Tourandot (don’t tell the girls, but I’m going to check out the Columbus area flea market, too!).  We’re pulling out all the stops, dressing to the nines, and having a great birthday celebration for them both!

Talk to you soon!

Virginia

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A new paradigm

“Stay busy, mom.”
Katherine in her dorm room @ Hollins

Katherine in her dorm room @ Hollins.

These precious words of wisdom came from my 18-year-old daughter as I left her behind to start her sophomore year at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. The 3 1/2 hour, solitary ride home was a bit melancholy (except for the few moments of rage directed at rude truckers on I-81), but here I am: home alone. And what am I doing with this new-found situation? Duh! I’m rethinking my house.

Hmm, shouldn’t I just paint all that woodwork my grandmother left for so long?!?

Hmm, shouldn’t I just paint all that dark woodwork that my grandmother left for so long?!?

Cathy (of Heather Grey Designs) has inspired me to rid myself of everything I haven’t used in the past 6 months (this is a really big house, and we’ve been here 8 years, and it’s attic is still full of stuff left by my grandmother when she lived here!). So this is the beginning of my plan. I’ve drawn up my lists and already seen, in my head, how beautiful, organized and peaceful it will all be.

Note the clean surface of the coffee table, the sleek lines of the sofa . . .

Note the clean surface of the coffee table, the sleek lines of the sofa . . .

Then I look around and realize that of the things on that ‘6 month zero use’ list way too many are cleaning products, and the reality of not having vacuumed in I’m-embarrassed-to-say-how-long sets in.

First things first.

Girls, I miss you. And mom is staying busy.
The suburban packed to take our youngest (partially hidden) to St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD

The suburban packed to take our youngest (partially hidden) to St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD for her freshman year.

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Getting ready for July 17-19!

Wow! What a great turn out we had for our June SUPER Sale! We’ve all recovered (a bit) and now we’re getting ready for July.
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Transitions is our theme for this month as we look forward to (gulp- yes it’s coming!) Back to School. For me, this year means the departure of both of my dearest buddies: my two daughters. Katherine returns to Hollins University for her sophomore year, and Sasha, our veteran cashier, begins her first year at St. John’s College, Annapolis.

Believe me, those of you facing the first day of kindergarten – it doesn’t get any easier as they grow. (I compared Katherine’s leaving last year to child birth – yes it was that bad).

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But on the bright side – there’s all that decorating to do! Whether it’s the dorm room, a first apartment, your toddler growing up to a ‘big kid’ room, all these transitions give us a chance to do our favorite thing: DECORATE!!!!

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We’re filling the yards and the barns with beds, desks, amazing chairs (we all have a weakness there!), dressers, cupboards, you name it, and we’ve got it. And don’t miss Madison & Mabel’s great storage solutions. New spaces, especially small ones, need well-thought-out storage. Industrial metal trays, weathered wooden draw boxes ensure that your storage will be totally hip.
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And you can communicate with style, too. I love the enamel table tops-turned-magnet board, salvaged wood converted to magnet boards and chalk boards. For an uber-chic option, try one of Flea Market Chicks’
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Free How-to “Taking & Displaying Great Photos”
Join Kelly Tyree, of Madison & Mabel, as she takes you through the tips and tricks it takes to capture those elusive moments, and then display them. Kelly’s creativity and clever sense of style are well worth taking a moment to learn from. Saturday only, 11am.
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See you July 17-19!
Virginia
and the gang at Chartreuse & co

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