Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February Blahs? Not in our Row-home!

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On Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. Well ... sure, it was an overcast Monday, with a looming winter storm, plus freezing rain! After taking a bite out of his gloved handler, Phil, the prognosticator saw his shadow predicting 6 more weeks of winter... He is right only 40 percent of the time. Three weeks later I'm turning February blahs, those wintertime blues into wishful Springtime daydreams.

"Keep your faith in beautiful things; 
in the sun when it is hidden, 
in the Spring when it is gone." 
~Roy R. Gibson~

10 days ago, on Valentine's Day as we were running through Trader Joe's aisles picking up a few needed weekend ingredients, a fierce snowstorm with huge flakes was quickly starting to accumulate. I spotted and grabbed a bundle of forcing branches. Forsythia for only $7.99! I decided to start our Spring early, despite the snow. Photo shows them on our kitchen counter as they looked on Valentine's Day.

9 days later a touch of Springtime in our Dining room in an antique Green glass Demi John, purchased on eBay. Or Dame Jeanne in French. Ours is an antique from Italy, huge - 25 inches tall and 18 inches wide. Can you imagine 5 gallons of wine in one! Pretty Forsythia, a hint of Spring to banish the February blahs. But as of yesterday the blooms still have not completely opened up. I'm thinking another week or so before they do.

Forsythia will be replaced by natural curly willow branches along side of our antique French riddling rack.

We recently had our French inspired leather club chair cushions in our living room reupholstered in a Coffee colored Velvet. Loving the feminine small scale design of our Expresso leather chairs almost as much as our >^..^< boys Max and Simon. It is a welcome change/repair from cat scratched leather cushions. Extremely comfortable chairs but with ugly scratched cushions we needed a solution. I have always liked the combination of velvet and leather. The coffee color works well, fills the desire for tactile feel without high color contrast. Oh and it's also cat approved.

The box behind the chair was just delivered and is far too heavy for me to move. So keeping it real, it sits upon the floor until John moves it from the spot the UPS guy dropped it at!

My photo bombers Max and Simon sitting on that heavy box in my way of taking unobstructed photos! Cat's have an infinity for cardboard boxes.

Between the club chairs stands a vintage cigarette table from France, circa 1940. John and I have a great admiration and design appreciation for French 1940's furniture. Most of our furniture has a genuine French nod to the past. Burl and gorgeous with a pull out tray, I stumbled upon her decades ago in a vintage shop on South Street in Philadelphia. I had time to kill between customer appointments. Back then I designed print ads and was a senior account executive in advertising. She came home with me that day because it truly was love at first sight. Petite, slender and tall. 

In case you're wondering about the lamp cord, it is vintage gold silk cloth wire. John drilled a hole through the floor and inserted it into a plug in the basement. No tripping here. Years ago at a Sunday flea market we spotted a large spool of this silk fabric wire and grabbed it at a ridiculously low price. John rewired all our lamp cords with it. Little details add much interest. The silk fabric cord wire is from France.

Seriously, who smokes anymore? Well being an antique French cigarette table, we decided to prop it with faux cigarettes. Our friend Kim's Mom crocheted them for me as a gift, after I had fell in love with his. Kim stuffed his into one of his French car's ashtray. Fitting touch for vintage Citroën's. Ours are in a vintage hotel ashtray from Rome. Adorable little prop, thank you Aileen. I have collected many vintage French and Italian ashtrays over the years. But just the ones without obvious signs of being an ashtray and only hand painted ones. They have become soap dishes and oftentimes holds condiments or olives, even jewelry at the sink.

Introducing a little humor in unexpected touches throughout our home is a trait and whim of ours.

I love the feminine lines of the club chairs and the masculine choice of the leather color. I strive for a balance in our row-home with feminine form and masculine feel in a tactile study. Mongolian lamb appears throughout our home as I am completely smitten with its softness and beauty. Pillows become my pets!

Side profile of club chairs. 

Upstairs against the exposed brick wall we enjoy a steel artist designed and signed handmade half moon console table. I enjoy industrial touches mixed into our home. Truth be known, I would love living in an old industrial converted loft. When the table was delivered back in the 90's my Dad fell in love with it. Dad was a steel man, worked until retirement in the steel industry. It didn't matter modern, rustic or industrial if it was handcrafted of American steel he loved it. 

Two bunches of Tulips from Holland (purchased at Trader Joe's) are displayed in a favorite artist handmade pottery pitcher. It's made in the slab pottery method. I have the matching sugar and creamer and greatly admire the glaze.

Tulips are a happy energetic flower and I always purchase them when they are before their full burst of color. I delight watching their release of petals and find Tulips tight or fully opened simply graceful and amazing. Second favorite flower choice to the Rose. Third? But of course the unassuming precious daisy.

Pretty in Pink I say, as they gently start to unfurl their petals.

I had been admiring a remake of a metal Parisian Street clock in the Wisteria catalogue. In honor of President's Day Wisteria ran an on-line 20% off anything special. Growing tired of the candelabra that hung on the exposed brick wall we decided a large industrial clock would compliment the steel table. Nearly 27 x 27 inches, we jumped on the savings offer. 

Love the side latch hardware. 

February 13th on HBO's "Real Time" with Bill Maher, David Duchovny was a panel guest. You might remember Duchovny back in the 90's as Jake Winter's on Showtimes erotic series Red Shoe Diaries. Or Duchovny as Fox Mulder special FBI agent on the "X-Files". Or as Hank Moody on Showtimes "Californication".  On "Real Time" he was promoting his new book "Holy Cow" which was released on Feb. 3rd. So I thought OK, listening to your description of it, sure, I'll buy it.

A couple days later on a very cold afternoon that reached only 3 degrees, I sat down for a read in my sitting room on my cowhide LC4 lounge. It is my favorite spot to read. Yes, I found humor sitting on my cowhide lounge chair reading about Elsie the cow. With the room flooded by sunlight from the skylight above I blissfully read "Holy Cow" in an afternoon (small book). A modern-day Dairy Tale as Duchovny described it. Bizarre, whimsical and I loved it. Must say I have always enjoyed Duchovny and as I read his words they read in his voice. Truly, really heard his voice.

As it is with every post I leave you with my poetry. Well today, February 24th is John's Birthday and I share my poem dedicated to him. See you in two weeks for a post about artful expression and photos back here in our Philly row-home. Planning it now, we will see where it takes us. Think Spring.

Today is the 55th day of the year,
John, it means your Birthday is here!

Born in the generation of the Baby Boomer,
you sweet husband have wonderful humor.

In 1949 the Porsche 356 first debuted to much fanfare,
A year of amazing introductions, best of all you, I declare!

So today I'm delivering my wishes with lots of kisses and cheer -
For there is one simple fact that year after year will always appear...

Dear handsome husband, it's something that's absolutely true, 
it's just how much I truly adore, respect and deeply love you!

© Vera


  1. I love love your exposed brick wall and that gorgeous fireplace. It is -16 degree here and now I want to run out and buy some flowers or indoor plants. How gorgeous are those leather and velvet club chairs??? I need one in my life.

  2. I love love your exposed brick wall and that gorgeous fireplace. It is -16 degree here and now I want to run out and buy some flowers or indoor plants. How gorgeous are those leather and velvet club chairs??? I need one in my life.

  3. I am impressed how you surround yourself with the things that you love, Vera. I see serious decor, along with whimsy. Your home looks like a happy place, filled with important pieces that have special meaning to your heart.
    Happy Birthday to your honey.

  4. Awwww....Happy Birthday to you wonderful hubby. Methinks you like him!
    Your home is full of wonderful, special things, Vera. I love that you drilled a hole through the floor for the cord. We did that in one old house too. lol
    You KNOW I love your French clock above the steel table. It is the perfect finishing touch for that space.
    WHO but YOU would have crocheted cigarettes? lol Well, except for the guy with the Citroën. We have a friend that has one of those two-such a comical little car.
    Love your tulips and your forsythia. Both harbingers of SPRING-which can't get her fast enough for me.
    Have a wonderful day- xo Diana

  5. Hello my friend. The poem to John is so great. Right from your heart. Love it and Happy Birthday to John. Loved seeing all your beautiful treasures throughout your gorgeous home. My favorite part of your home is that exposed brick just so much character and history and yummyness!!!! Loved seeing your touches of Spring Ohhhh to hope that might appear outside soon.
    Happy Happy Birthday Dear John. Enjoy your special day.
    Love you guys,

  6. Applause on a wonderful, fun post! I truly enjoyed seeing pictures of your beautiful, eclectic (good word?) home The leather/velvet club chairs have stolen my heart. I was thinking of leather for my den redo but I got mixed reviews on dog scratches. You truly have such an interesting mix of pieces and I love the stories they tell.

    I didn't know Trader Joe's had branches! Now that's a statement. My forsythia doesn't bloom until May. I tried my hand at forcing them last year indoors and failed. I think I needed to wait until the buds are ready to burst. And tulips...my fave. You may have missed my posts from summers past, but hubby decided to plant daisies one year. He overestimated a bit and now we have a bed bursting with daisies every June!! I'll send you some this summer! :)

    Happy birthday to John! I know he loves the poem, just like we do!! Celebrate!

    Jane xxx

  7. First off...Happiest Birthday to your John. :) I know he smiled and LOVED that adorable poem you wrote just for him.
    I really enjoy seeing snippets of your row home...by the way, just what IS a row home?
    I love your new large clock..the leather chairs with new seatcovers...and those cutie-pie faux cigs.....:) I would love to see your pretty home, filled with all these interesting treasures......

  8. My goodness, Vera, I hardly know where to begin! I read your post through, then scrolled through it again to get a closer look at those gorgeous photos, then read the entire post again. I simply loved it! You are a designer in every sense of the word. Your home is exactly what I would expect it to be: filled with things that you love, a collected home where each piece tells a story. And what a wonderful backdrop it all has in that fabulous row home of yours! The leather and velvet chairs are gorgeous. The petite cigarette table is beyond charming, and I love that you found it unexpectedly. John replacing all the lamp cords with the silk fabric wire; that is, indeed, attention to detail. Lovely. I enjoyed seeing the French riddling rack, as it is a smaller version of an antique French ridding rack I once had for sale in our gallery/shop in Estes Park, Colorado. It held 50 bottles. I took it on consignment to sell and it did take awhile due to its size. But one day a man who owned a winery came in and fell in love with it. . .and the lovely ridding rack that looked so splendid in our shop found the perfect home. It was meant to be his. Your poem to John expresses so much love and devotion. Thank you for sharing it. So special. Happy birthday to John and may he have many more birthdays with his beautiful wife. May both of you have a glorious day. Hugs, Nancy P.S. I adore Forsythia! Whenever I see it in glorious bloom I rejoice! Oh,bland, sullen winter. . .your days are numbered, indeed!

  9. Oh my gosh, filtered and un-filtered in that ash tray, and of knits too artsy.
    Oh yes this is the Vera I know here, you do live creatively divine with all the comforts and style you so fit into your life.
    Again the brick is a wonderful back drop to your daily living, dramatic and soulful. Yes, Vera we have talked about a life living in a warehouse me an open New York Loft or sewing factory and you as well, and the thought of you wanting a factory loft I can totally see it, in many ways your home puts off that vibe and I could move right in adding my French flavor.

    Happy Birthday all month long.

    Vera, ok.... I have to mention the drilling in the floor to wire electric to the lamp, never every have I seen or heard of any sort of move in this design direction, yes, a floor mount plug but, a drilled hole is nothing short of genius, or eccentric, and I love it, and I really think this was a perfect fix to centered lighting.

    This is my favorite post, it shows so much of you, who you are, how you live poetically, and how this fine collector and artiste lives. I spy that new grey poof pillow and its a great fit in your home, love it!

    See you soon beautiful.

  10. What a lovely poem, Vera. A very Happy Birthday to John! And how pretty your home looks with the forsythia branches and tulips. I especially love forcing branches to flower this time of year.

  11. Hi Vera and Happy Birthday John!!
    I pass Trader Joe's each week on my way to the Shop...this week I'm making time to stop in and treat myself to some tulips!

  12. Happy Birthday John!! The poem dedicated to you from your dear talented Vera is beautiful. Hope your special day is perfect.

    Hi Vera, today the 24th would have been my dad's birthday too. Mine is the 28th and I miss our celebrations together.
    Your poem is the dearest!!

    Love your home and all the special touches you have added. The darling cigarette table is a treasure and I love the cord going through the floor to the basement to plug in. That gorgeous vintage cord is one you want one to see but not trip on. Perfect solution. And, those crocheted cigs are too cute and perfect in a vintage ashtray. Unexpected and charming, right out of the 40's-50's. Love your velvet and leather club chairs. I too like this combo of textiles.

    Everything you are surrounded with is peaceful and filled with class and charm. Seeing your row home is like flipping pages of the latest best interior design magazine. I love it all and have to go back and view it all again.

    Thank you for sharing my friend. Your style is inspiring.
    Love to you, CM

  13. Happy Birthday to John!

    Vera, I think this is one of my favorite posts.. I just adore your home.. Love the different textures on your chair.. Looks beautiful.. The exposed brick always catches my eye.. The metal console table is beautiful. The artist did an amazing job, and your dad being in the steel industry would make having this more special I would think.
    This poem is so touching... You really have a way with words, Vera.
    Thank you so much for sharing more of you.
    p.s. Just sent you an email...

  14. Your home is so cozy and so you. I love looking at your photos and all the special touches. I want an antique demi john

  15. GOod morning Vera!

    I am finding myself apologizing all over Blogland and in emails for my tardiness! School conferences after school and into the late evening kept me away yesterday from my computer! But it's so comforting to be here, visiting with friends whose stories and lives are of great importance, and I love to listen.

    LOVE THOSE FAUX CIGARETTES! They complete that gorgeous table, and yet are odorless and so cute....your mantle is so lovely, and like you, I am needing to get some fresh flowers in this house soon, or I am going to explode! I love my white décor, but I'm growing a bit needy for a pop of fresh color from fresh flowers. And Trader Joe's is the best place to go find flowers!

    Wishing JOHN A HAPPY BIRTHDAY! And to you my dear friend...let's chat again soon! Anita

  16. I need forsythia and tulips in my house too! Happy Birthday to John.

  17. keep your faith in beautiful things...oh yes. the chairs with their new velvet are gorgeous, and i love hearing the history behind these objects that are special to you.peace to you and the birthday king.

  18. keep your faith in beautiful things...oh yes. the chairs with their new velvet are gorgeous, and i love hearing the history behind these objects that are special to you.peace to you and the birthday king.

  19. Well well, Vera. Cigarette? In this case, YESS, hahaha
    And yes, we keep our faith in beautiful things. Most beautiful things - us :))
    Hugs to you, my splendid friend, Méa, who believes, you will find a perfect place for your banner ;))

  20. I love the poem you wrote for your spouse. The chairs came out wonderful, and I love how the kitties got in the photos. I love your fairy or angle with the unusual finish. I think your home looks like a loft, even if it is not. xoox

  21. Happy birthday to your hubby! Mine was born in the same year:) I love your exposed brick, and your demi john is wonderful. I also love your wine bottle riddler (I think that's what they are called, anyway!). Did you get your crowned cherub on Etsy? Love it, and your kitties making an appearance, too:)

  22. Your poem is a wonderful gift to your husband for his birthday!! As always, you delight us with your posts, Vera, packed full of a true artist's creativity, amazing talent, and interesting facts and history of your one-of-kind pieces. I love your whimsical cigarettes and collection of ashtrays. Of course, I noticed the tall stack of books behind your fabulous chairs.
    Another very enjoyable visit, Vera!!
    Mary Alice

  23. A trip to your home is always a treat Vera. You have so many fun things in it. Love the new chair cushions! Seeing your forsythia in bloom reminds me I need to go out and cut a few branches from the garden too. Yours look wonderful on your demi john---it's the perfect container for them.
    The poem for your husband's birthday must make him feel loved!

  24. I love touches of spring throughout this house. Definitely chases away the winter blahs. Happy birthday to your husband. xo Laura

  25. Your home would be like visiting a favorite art museum. Every nook and cranny is filled with something interesting and beautiful! And the crocheted ciggies are so fun! :)
    Happy Birthday to John ~ I hope his day was filled with joy!

  26. I just love your sense of whimsy. I know that I would love a leisurely afternoon with you telling me about all the wonderful keeps you have found and placed in your unique home!
    Happy Birthday to your lovely hubby...your love is so apparent in your words.
    xo, T.