Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Orleans Style

Antique shops along Magazine Street

My best friend and sister of my heart, Debbie, yes we’re both Debs, lives clear across the country from me so once every two years or so we meet up in a different city to play for a week. We decided to meet up in New Orleans since she had never been there and of course there was magazine street to look forward too since we both love antiques. Magazine Street is well known for all their antique shops although there are fewer since hurricane Katrina.

A restored shotgun house with newly added dormer

We stayed in the French quarter and played tourists and the first thing that struck me were the stunning shotgun houses. A single shotgun house is usually 12 feet wide and has 3-5 rooms in a row, sometimes only two rooms deep, front to back, with no hallways and doors that open on the front and back.

(Excuse the dates on the pictures I never learned how to set that on my camera.)

Shotgun houses were popular mainly in southern cities since they occupied a small area of land, usually 30 feet wide at most, so it allowed a great number of homes to be built side by side. New Orleans housing taxes contributed to the shotgun house since taxes were based on the lot frontage. Later when people tried to take the houses to a second story known as “Camelbacks” the houses were then taxed based on square footage. Since hallways and closets were considered rooms this type of house has no closets or hallways.

“Double-barrel” shotgun houses that consist of two houses sharing a central wall that would have allowed more homes to be built.

They became known as being a shotgun house for the saying that you could shoot a gun through the front door and have the bullet pass cleanly through the back door since the doors line up on the same sides. I love the vibrant colors used for the house colors.


The houses usually had big rooms with high ceilings that helped with cooling purposes, when the warm air rises it helped to keep the lower part cooler. The shutters on the main doors helped as well since the shutters can be locked from the inside and the front door could be left open to allow air flow through the house.

This house is actually two houses the entrances being on the far left and right and each with a window and dormer in the center. The left house is for rent if you’re interested.

A modern shotgun house with detailed floor plan that includes a bathroom, the original shotgun houses had no bathroom.

Interior pictures via Southern Accents, December, 2002

These interior shots are from Gerald Pierce’ pied-a-terre in the French Quarter of his double-barrel shotgun house that has been turned into a single dwelling. Gerald is a designer of Jim Thompson Thai Silks in Bangkok.

If you notice the pictures hung over the windows in the living room and how far up on the opposite wall the pictures go up it’ll give you a sense of how high the ceilings are, usually 14’ in height.

Chimneys tended to be built in the interior so the front and middle rooms could share a chimney and each have a fireplace. Notice how slender the fireplace surround is, not much wider then the antique trumeau mirror above it. Typically there was another chimney built in the kitchen.


The kitchen, located at the very back of the house, looks to be a simple gallery kitchen hidden behind silk drapes. This is a man who obviously doesn't cook much since those drapes would get ruined by cooking grease.

If you click on Gerald’ bedroom picture you can pull it up bigger to see how narrow the bedroom looks and how high the ceilings are, the ceilings do have cove molding. Notice how he kept the wood floors dark so that they almost disappear?

The bedroom fireplace exactly on the other side of the living room fireplace.

While I love the look and the idea about these little houses I don’t think I could live in one since I get claustrophobic. Love the tall floor to ceiling windows and the ceiling heights, so European. I’m also thinking these homes are best for a single person since there isn’t much square footage. They’re such a charming part of our architectural history and I’m glad I got to see so many first hand with my best friend.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

Candlelit Dreams....

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and thank you for all your warm wishes!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A New Decade!

You can't run from them...... 

They're very subtle, (if you're lucky)....... 

You don't hear a thing...... 

But like the hounds of hell they're right there every year.......

Images via The French Chateau and The New 18th Century Style

Then you're blind-sided with yet another year under your belt!
I've officially hit the half century mark how about you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rough Luxe.......

Courtesy of Velvet & Linen here

Courtesy of Obsolete here

Courtesy of Greige via Dele Cuona

 Courtesy of Dandelion and Grey here

Courtesy of Obsolete here

Courtesy of Cote de Texas here 

Courtesy of Velvet & Linen here

Courtesy of M. Naeve here 

I love the simple upholstered look on these furniture pieces and would love to incorporate one into my studio. This last picture from Margaret Naeve in Houston is my favorite because of the green back, how about you?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Last Vestige..........

There’s a definite fall like crispness in the air here in New England today and soon the leaves will be changing colors, pumpkins will be carved and fireplaces lit.  

So it's time to finish up the last bit of yard work and put the garden beds to sleep....

Time to move the outdoor furniture in for the winter....

Time to get the house in shape for the upcoming holiday season....

Time to bring out our sweaters and boots.......

images via Old Houses
The cooler weather keeps me indoors more reminding me it’s time to get cozy.
What does fall say to you?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Collecting habit: Tassels

French silk tassels, left is 18th century with chipped gilt header, the right 17th century

I thought I would show you one of the items I collect and being an antique textile dealer with a love of anything European this item was a natural for me, the tassel. Textiles sometimes come to me bearing only one tassel the other long lost through the ages. Since items look lopsided with only one tassel attached it wasn’t long before I had a collection.

Tassels have a long and varied history, Jesus had tassels called Tzitzit, like the one above, on the four corners of his garment or shawl. While Charles X, King of France, 1824-30, wore tassels as an embellishment. 

Array of 18th and 19th century silk and metal tassels

Who could resist them with their pure silk and metal thread that has been turned, trimmed and knotted onto gilt wooden headers. Amass they can really make a decorative statement!

18th century French wool tapestry pillow

It wasn’t long before anything depicting a tassel was catching my eye. Tassels have been woven into tapestries..... (love this orange!)

carved from wood………

French, 19th century silk trimmings

used as trimmings....

used as art work, my tassel board holding assorted tassels within an antique frame.

17th century French tassels

Most of these elaborate artistic tassels can be assumed to be French since the French widely exported their trimmings and tassels known as “Passementerie” at a very low cost that no other nation ever developed a “trimmings” industry. Both American and European artists, who charge up to $1000 for a single handmade tassel, are now copying antique tassels.

18th century French silk trims

My tassel habit became so bad I needed more of a fix that led me to fringes! Fringes with silk, fringes with metal thread, and of course fringes with tassels!

French 16th, 17th and 18th century tassels

The quintessential piece of artwork!

L' Art de la Passementerie here

Two wonderful books, written in French, all about the art of trimmings.

La Passementerie here

Now it's your turn, what do you collect?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Designer Profile: Victoria Hagan

If you don’t already know her allow me to introduce you to Victoria Hagan a New York City designer extraordinaire who owns her own design firm named Victoria Hagan Interiors here that caters to both residential and commercial projects.

Hagan began designing interiors in 1985, founded Victoria Hagan Interiors in 1991 and established Victoria Hagan Home, a line of furniture, fabrics and accessories, in 2002.

Her design philosophy is “keep it simple”, “keep it comfortable”, “keep it interesting” but most important “keep it fun”. She keeps interiors very clean with a neutral palette and isn’t drawn to any period or style but rather goes for versitility in a room. Her interiors look very relaxed and stylish at the same time.

Love the pop of red, dark wood with the clean crisp white. You get a taste of old with the new. Victoria's interiors are both masculine and feminine.

Designed by Victoria Hagan

Victoria’s style reminds me so much of Darryl Carter’s style, below, I love both. They both use a mix of the traditional and modern, the old and the new with clean lines.

Designed by Darryl Carter, pictures via Elle Decor

Designed by Darryl Carter, Washington DC Row House, photo Simon Upton

Darryl Carter used masculine looking leather-covered doors as a headboard, above. While Victoria designed a feminine leather screen, below, for her home collection here.  

The Carroll leather screen by Victoria Hagan

Victoria's furniture collection it's so stylish and clean and fits beautifully in today's interiors.

The James footstool designed by Victoria Hagan

The Wainscott chair from her home collection

                                                           Enjoy more of Victoria Hagan's Interiors here

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting designer Victoria Hagan and seeing a few pictures of her design work. There are a lot more pictures on her website here of interiors and here of her home collection, I just love her look!
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