Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter Storm 2015

I hope that everyone in the path of the forecast record setting snowfall in The Northeastern United States is safe and warm during this projected epic storm. Please heed the warnings of officials and stay indoors. We need to have everyone around come Spring!

courtesy of Eglise Urbain 180

All of you who live in the North don't quite understand that those of us who live in the South at times long for snow. I, for one, would love to have a "good" snow. A "good" snow consists of 4-6 (+) inches, the right consistency for snowballs and snow cream, and the temperature cannot be below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, or we Southern Belles might just freeze our booties off! Believe it or not, schools are closed here for half an inch of the white stuff. In their (the school Superintendents) defense, we don't have the infrastructure here like folks in the North do, and we get ice more often than snow. 

I want to have a snow day with my daughter, so we can we sled, make a snowman, and make snow cream. After playing in the snow, we would drink hot chocolate or hot cider, and watch movies in our pajamas for the rest of the day.That sounds like heaven to me. In this heavenly scenario, the sun comes out the next day, and the temperature rises to a balmy 50 degrees, so the snow melts, and we can get back to our regular schedules. 

Since the Nashville, Tennessee forecast is 39 and cloudy for tomorrow, I am going to post some of my favorite images of winter, and pretend that my Winter Wonderland fantasy is a reality. 

A beautiful image of a snow covered lane by R. Hammitt

I fell in love with Dr. Zhivago first from the album and the photos from the movie that were on the cover. After seeing the movie, the beauty was so much more than those few still photos on the album cover, and the Ice Palace scene was the epitome of winter splendor. I have since wanted an ice castle. 


Another image of the Ice Palace from Dr. Zhivago (Sostar S.A., 1965)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe was another example of Cinematography that was absolutely beautiful and shaped the dreams of many. The classic books by C.S. Lewis painted his vision of Narnia so clearly, and Director Andrew Adamson captured his vision and brilliantly relayed it to the screen. 

Cate Blanchett as the White Witch in C.S. Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. 

From Gilmore Girls, "Women of Questionable Morals", when Luke made a mini- ice rink for Lorelei.... Now THAT is a snow day!

I will continue to dream of a snow day in the South. 

May everyone in the Northeast stay safe and warm during this winter storm.

~ Julie


I have been semi obsessed with the film/ documentary "Grey Gardens", from the 1970s for years now. The study of Little Edie and Big Edie Bouvier Beale, who were the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, was fascinating, to say the least. The house, which is in East Hampton, New York, had deteriorated into squalor as a result of financial problems and mental and physical health issues. I was thrilled to see the following article on the blog, "Hooked on Houses" this morning. If you are familiar with the story, you will be as pleased as I was to see the home in all of its glory today......

Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
When I heard that Sally Quinn is renting out her iconic East Hampton home, I was eager to see what it looks like today. She and her late husband Ben Bradlee bought Grey Gardens in 1979 for $220,000. At the time it was in such bad shape that most of the prospective buyers saw it as a tear-down, but they were determined to restore it instead. Here’s how it looked then: 
Grey Gardens in a state of disrepair in the '70s
The house was made famous by a documentary that described its former owners as “Big and Little Edie Beale — high-society dropouts, mother and daughter, reclusive cousins of Jackie O. — thriving together amid the decay and disorder of their ramshackle East Hampton mansion.”
Grey Gardens movie poster crop
Here’s a photo of the Beales taken in the entry hall in the 1970s:
The Beales in the Entry Hall of Grey Gardens 1971
Bradlee and Quinn (bravely, if you ask me) set out to restore its original classic beauty. The house was featured in Architectural Digest in the 1980s, and here’s how the entry hall looked then:
Grey Gardens in Architectural Digest-foyer
Quinn said, “My goal was to have anyone who entered the house feel good.” Here’s the front hall in the listing today, and it doesn’t look like much has changed since then:
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
Quinn said that when they were renovating the house, a neighbor came by with a message from Big Edie, who had died several years before and told her, “I talked to Big Edie the other day. She wanted me to tell you how pleased she is that you have bought Grey Gardens. She wants you to know that she believes you will make the house as beautiful as it once was, and that she will be watching over you to make sure that everything goes perfectly and that this will be a warm and loving and happy house.”
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
Edith Beale and her husband Phelan bought the house in the 1920s, but he took off in 1934, leaving her without the means to maintain the property. The story was told in a 2009 HBO film starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange:
Grey Gardens TV movie poster
The sets in that movie, which recreated Grey Gardens in its 1920s heyday, were pretty fabulous. For instance, here’s how the living room looked in the movie:
Grey Gardens HBO movie sets
You can see a framed poster from the movie on the upstairs landing in the listing today:
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
The shingle-style home was designed in 1897 by Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe, an architect who designed many of the Arts and Crafts-style summer cottages in East Hampton.
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
At the time, it stood on 4 acres of oceanfront land. Today 1.7 acres remain with the property and it’s a short walk to the beach.
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
In a 2003 article for Town and Country, Sally Quinn said that when they bought the house, “The attic was filled, literally, to the rafters with broken furniture, old wicker chaises, antique tables, boxes of china and silver, trunks full of letters, baby pillows of handmade lace, figurines, crates of books — it was like finding a shipwreck and discovering unimaginable treasure buried among the detritus.”
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
“I was so overwhelmed,” she said, “and in such a state of agitation that I actually started smoking again. But discovering all these extraordinary objects made the whole prospect of renovating and decorating so easy.”
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
Here’s how the sitting area in the kitchen looked in Architectural Digest in 1984 (below), which said, “A part of the large kitchen is given over to a sitting area, comfortably appointed with a trio of sofas. The stove—a new one—resembles the antique version it replaced.”
Grey Gardens estate in AD-sitting area off kitchen
The furniture looks like it’s been reupholstered in a lighter fabric, but the sitting area in the center of the kitchen remains today:
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
A friend of mine was just telling me how the new trend is to replace tables and chairs in the kitchen with comfortable seating areas. She put a loveseat in hers and loves it. I think I’d need a table, though! Maybe they eat in the dining room?
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
AOL Real Estate reports: “Quinn and Bradlee spent Augusts at the beach house. But Bradlee died in October at 93 and Quinn is planning to travel this summer, so the 10-bedroom, 6.5-bath house is being offered as a rental for $250,000 from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It also is available at $295,000 for one year or $225,000 for just July and August.”
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
That sounds like a lot of money to us mere mortals, but those are Hamptons prices for you. Some places rent for a million or more for the summer.
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
The thatch-roofed cottage in the yard is a charming playhouse:
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
Visit Architectural Digest to read the article from 1984 that Sally Quinn wrote about the house and see more photos by Peter Vitale. You can learn more about the history of the house onGrey Gardens Online, too.
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
For more information about the listing visit AOL’s real estate blog and Curbed. The listing is with agent Gary DePersia, who is handling the property for the Corcoran Group.
Grey Gardens in the Hamptons Today |
BTW, a lovely replica of the house was built by a Grey Gardens fan in Massachusetts on Cape Cod a few years ago. They did their research and learned that it had originally had shutters, so they replicated those, too. How cool is that? You can read about it here:
Replica of Grey Gardens in Cape Cod |
 I love the idea of taking a famous house that you love and building your own version of it! Are there any famous houses like this that inspire you? On a cold, snowy day like today, I’d be content with a cozy little beach house like this one:-)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Handmade Heart Clay Tags via On Sutton Place

Valentine's Day is almost upon us, and one of my favorite bloggers, Ann Drake of On Sutton Place, has created some of the most beautiful handmade clay heart tags that can be used to adorn a gift wrapped package, a lamp, or to create a napkin ring. So many creative uses for the sweet little tags...  how will you use yours?

Valentine Inspired Heart Clay Tags | All are handmade and arrive in custom packaging! | suttonplacedesigns.comSutton Place Designs has been busy! We’ve been working hard and are happy to be able to offer a wide selection (our best ever) of handmade heart clay tags that are perfect for your Valentine’s Day gift giving or decor. Every design is original and each tag is made by hand. We’ve added some new packaging too.
Handmade Heart Clay Tags | Valentine's Day gift giving or decor | suttonplacedesigns.comWhen we launched our line of tags at Christmas, we were sort of flying by the seat of our pants. Our packaging was OK, but not great. These muslin bags will be perfect if you want to give the tags as a gift and will also serve as safe storage.
I put together a few ideas of how you can use the tags in your decor. Of course they can pretty much hang from anything. Just look around your home and I bet you can come up with ideas of your own. We came up with hanging one from a mason jar filled with flowers (pictured above) or adding one to the handle of a pitcher.
Handmade Heart Clay Tags | Valentine's Day gift giving or decor |
Handmade Heart Clay Tags | Valentine's Day gift giving or decor | suttonplacedesigns.comThey can hang from cabinet knobs, lanterns or lamps.
Handmade Heart Clay Tags | Valentines's Day gift giving or decor | suttonplacedesigns.comWe have a couple of styles that make perfect gift tie-ons.
Handmade Heart Clay Tags | Valentines's Day gift giving or decor | suttonplacedesigns.comWe made banners too. This one spells out LOVE and is available with the little birds…
Handmade Heart Clay Tags | Valentine's Day gift giving or decor | suttonplacedesigns.comor without the birds in a smaller size.
Handmade Heart Clay Tags | Valentine's Day gift giving or decor | suttonplacedesigns.comWe are really excited about our new napkin holders. I first showed you some of these when I shared my Thanksgiving table. They are available in squares or hearts with twine included. Of course you can add your very own personal touch by replacing the twine with your favorite ribbon.
Handmade Heart Clay Tags | Valentine's Day gift giving or decor | suttonplacedesigns.comAll the items in the collage below are ready to go. I will be shipping every day in order to make sure you get them in plenty of time for Valentine’s Day.
Handmade Heart Clay Tags | Valentine's Day gifts or decor | suttonplacedesigns.comI am still trying to make some more heart button and ribbon pillow covers. The button one especially takes a while! If all goes well I will be listing more by the end of the week.
Thank you for stopping by and for taking a look. Happy Sunday!
Click HERE to visit my shop!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Four Luxury Homes on America's Oldest Street

As I was perusing the interwebs today, I came across an excellent blog about Historic Homes. There are many posts, about many periods in architecture: Victorian, Mid Century Modern, Colonial, just to name a few. I highly suggest clicking over to after you read my blog, if you love homes and architecture as much as I do!

Four Luxury Homes on America's Oldest Street via Tyler Freed

123 Elfreths Aly - 24
There’s a museum and a gift shop — and the Liberty Bell is just around the corner — but Elfreth’s Alley isn’t just a tourist attraction. It’s also the oldest continuously occupied residential street in America.
Hoping it stays occupied are local listing agents, who are trying to sell four properties on the historic block in Philadelphia’s Old City.
“As long as I’ve been doing real estate, I’ve never seen this quality or quantity of homes [for sale] on Elfreth’s or Old City. It’s pretty unique,” said CenterCityTeam‘s Frank L. DeFazio, who just posted an Elfreth’s Alley home as a Coming Soon listing on Zillow.
Designated a National Historic Landmark, the street is sitting on a gold mine of early American architecture ranging from 18th-century colonials to federation-style row houses once owned by bakers, shipwrights, glassblowers and other tradesmen. But unlike most homes from the era, the current listings are larger and more luxurious, boasting renovated interiors and impeccably restored exteriors.
“These are luxury, high-end homes,” DeFazio said. “They are insane. You just don’t see homes like that in Old City north of Market. Only one or two homes on Vine [Street] are that nice.”
Here’s a look at the four Elfreth’s Alley listings:

123 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA
For sale: $795,000

Elfreth's Alley-MLS-8
The Baker’s House was the first of the four homes to hit the market. Once a 2-story brick kitchen, the federation-style home has been expanded and renovated over the years.
“Amy, one of the current owners, is very meticulous,” said Adam Atacan, who holds the listing with Antonio Atacan of The Atacan Group. “She made it look like a museum in there.”
The facade is historically certified, while a new roof, finished basement and a highly efficient HVAC system make the home better suited for a contemporary lifestyle.
Elfreth's Alley-MLS-20
“It mixes the new with the old without losing its character,” Adam Atacan said. “In the basement, you can actually see the original oven. It’s not functional, but you can see the opening and everything where they baked bread.”
Atacan claims this is one of the best properties on the block, noting the parking spot and rooftop deck aren’t typical for homes in the area.

133-35 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA
For sale: $850,000

133-35 Elfreths - 19
Following the trend of mixing old and new, this home boasts a beautiful old-brick design with a new kitchen, living room and dining room. An adjacent lot serves as a garden.
“It’s almost impossible to find outdoor space like this in Center City,” said listing agent Joanne Davidow of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices | Fox & Roach Realtors.

133-35 Elfreths - 8
She was told that Haym Solomon, one of the largest financiers of the Revolutionary War, once lived on the lot.
Meanwhile, Atacan heard the property was once a storefront, which could explain why the first floor is so spacious. The house has 3 bedrooms and 3 baths totaling 2,290 square feet.

125 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA
For sale: $649,900

125 Elfreths Aly - 1
Built in 1836, this is the newest and tallest house on the block, according to Sean Kaplan, who has listed the home with John Brown of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices | Fox & Roach Realtors. It’s also the biggest home currently for sale on Elfreth’s Alley, measuring 3,122 square feet. first reported the listing earlier this month, noting the home is divided into two units.
“The current owners lived downstairs and rented out the upstairs,” Kaplan explained. “”The lower unit has 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. The upper unit has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.”
Renting out part of the home was a smart financial choice, he said, because the rental covers half the cost of the property.
Kaplan doesn’t have interior photos because a tenant still lives in the home, though he says he’s received a good amount of interest from buyers.
“This kind of property is for a specific kind of buyer who really loves vintage Philadelphia,” he said. “People are drawn to it.”

109 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PAComing Soon: $650,000

109 Elfreths Aly - 1
DeFazio is hoping buyers will also be drawn to 109 Elfreth’s Alley. According to thePreservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, the home was abandoned while a rear addition to the property was being constructed in 2008. The house sat vacant, suffering from water infiltration, mold infestation and vandalism, until it was foreclosed in 2010. Then last year, an optometrist and his wife decided to fix it up.
“He bought it and is currently renovating it,” DeFazio said. “I’m going to list it within the next 30 days.”
DeFazio, who has started prospecting for potential buyers before the home is expected to hit the MLS on Aug. 17, is confident he can sell the place, though he’s concerned with the number of tourists flocking to Old City.
“Tours are constantly going up and down the cobblestone street,” he said. “Every morning, someone is looking through your window. It will be interesting to see if there’s high demand.”
Photos for 123 Elfreth’s Alley by Matt Robnett. Photos for 133-35 Elfreth’s Alley by George Dimitruk.