Sunday, August 26, 2012

Estate Sale - The Nightingale Inn

I have to admit it….occasionally (ok, maybe frequently) I go to an estate sale just to see the house….sometimes I can tell by the listing that the “estate” is just spectacular and perhaps the items for sale are not in my price range or not really my taste but the stories some houses tell 
are worth going to the sale for.

"The Estate"
photo courtesy of Google Images
This was definitely the case last weekend when I swung by the former Nightingale Inn in Wenham for the sale they were holding.  The property has sold and is being converted to a private residence so they were clearing out all of the “inn d├ęcor”.

The Front - this is what you find behind the gate...a circular
driveway with this gorgeous fountain in the middle
The Back - kidney shaped pool with fabulous portico for
 The email I received from described this property as:

The Nightingale Inn, nestled in scenic Cape Ann in Wenham was built in 1910 by Arthur D. Little, the famous entrepreneur who discovered acetate, and went on to build a multi-national corporation. Later, John and Augusta Nightingale owned this historic 8,000 sq foot + residence complete with horse barns, fountains, pools and gazebos abutting Audubon land and expanded it to its current state. Augusta is a direct descendant of Thomas Jefferson. President and Nancy Reagan once stayed at this residence, as well as astronauts and other celebrities. The home features grand reception halls, staircases, hand-painted Zuber wall covering depicting the complete 1849 El Dorado scene. Magnificent, well-appointed rooms and grounds make this an exceptional event.  The Inn has 5 rooms, each with private bath, 32 inch LCD Direct TV, and AC. The inn has over 8,000 sq ft of common space. There is also a guest house on the property with 3 full suites

How exciting is that, President & Mrs Reagan once stayed at this property?

One of my fav pics that I took on my visit to the Reagan Library a couple of years ago...highly recommend a
The furnishings were absolutely beautiful but not necessarily my style, a little too baroque maybe but holy cow the property was magnificent!  

The dining room has such beautiful wall murals

I do have to say I loved this dresser so
much...and believe it or not this is
how this photo came out with no cropping..
I showed up in the middle of the second (and last) day of the sale so many of the prime items were long gone but that was fine by me since I was far more interested in seeing the inn/house.

upstairs hallway - just love the wainscoting & interior
These gorgeous windows were interior windows that
were strategically placed to allow light to filter
through halls & stairwells that didn't have any
natural light sources.  So architecturally interesting too!
 One of the ladies that was working the sale told me that they had over 300 people in line waiting for over 3 hours the first day of the sale…I’m so glad I waited until the second day (which by the way was still crazy busy).  As much as I love a good sale I don’t know of much that I would wait in a line of 300 people for 3 hours for….I’m just not that kind of patient.

I probably spent an hour at this sale just meandering around the property…I don’t think I looked conspicuous at all…lol.  It was such a lovely day and really there were so many other folks around I’m fairly confident no one even noticed that I was busy looking at the light fixtures & millwork and not paying at all attention to the goods that were left for sale.

Perfect place for a party...
image courtesy of Yelp

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mr Johnson's Dresser

Sometimes when you look at a piece of furniture you just have to have some vision. Sometimes it’s obvious that a piece has potential but quite often it’s not.

That was the case with the dresser that Mr. Johnson left in my workshop when Mrs. Johnson sold me their house. Mr. Johnson was a cabinet maker I’m told and half of my garage is a workshop where he did his woodworking. It’s a great space with a ton of potential but really raw at this time… definitely one of the things that sold me the house though.

My oh so raw workshop...someday this will
be a fabulous office (unfortunately today though
it's just storage)
Mrs. Johnson had left a couple of pieces of furniture Mr. Johnson had used for storage and workspaces. One was a really sad looking dresser…you know the type, the kind you pick up at the unfinished wood stores for cheap and stain yourself. This was definitely one of those and had clearly been well used. But I could tell it was still solid and unlike much of the “lower end” furniture sold today it was real wood (inexpensive wood, but real none-the-less). 

Would you see any potential in this mess???

And this is the mess that necessitated some real vision.

It had been sitting in my garage workshop for who knows how long collecting dirt when I was looking for something that would give me a little extra storage in my home office/project room. It’s really a guest bedroom but since I already have one of those I use it for more of a multi-purpose fun room. Unfortunately, the fun runneth over in my multi-purpose room so I needed to do something…fast…and more importantly cheap!

I immediately though of the sad dresser from my outside workshop…I clearly needed some vision…. 

Oh the dirt...and I'm really not sure why Mr J decided it
was a great idea to screw (yes it was screwed) this sad
bookcase to the sad dresser...
So on a very hot weekend I put the grubbiest of my work clothes on and pulled it out and took the hose to it, soaped it and scrubbed each and every last corner to within an inch of its life. 

Then spent a few evenings priming and painting…I decided I wanted to paint it the color of lemonade. A yellow dresser I saw and blogged about last summer (click here to see lemon dresser) from Nobleboro Antique Exchange had stuck in my head and I have driven myself crazy for the last year trying to figure out how I could incorporate something similar into my house. Problem now solved, this is the perfect time/place to do it! 

I don't always prime my projects but am so glad I did this
time - it made all the difference.
Since my sad dresser had been sitting in my garage for so long I thought it was probably a good idea to paint the inside of the drawers – just to seal the wood. I had purchased about 7 cans of grey high gloss spray paint for a project I was working on last year but had changed my mind and didn’t end up using it. With grey & yellow being everywhere in the fashion mags this spring I just knew it was the perfect color combo for my little dresser. 

Finished drawer.  The spray paint did the trick, clean, crisp
and no musty smell!
I also had some glass knobs that I had picked up on clearance a while ago for the built-in in my living room that didn’t quite work out on that piece so those would be perfect to give the dresser a little pizzazz. The end product came out amazing…especially considering I only ended up spending a little over $16 in paint (Benjamin Moore Early Dawn)….the rest reusing supplies I had on hand and a dresser I inherited with my mortgage. Vision definitely realized.

Finished project full of all kinds of fun!
I made the inspiration board several years
ago from a discount frame I picked up at
Ballard Designs Backroom
Now I'm just wondering...stencil or not?  Maybe a crisp white graphic fleur around the knobs?  Oh the possibilities...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One Last Bit of Fun in Amish Country - Country French Collection

On my last sweltering day in Lancaster I was assessing what I had missed and what I really wanted to be sure I saw before heading out of town.  Since we had the 5pm curfew the previous day thought a quick swing by Route 272 Adamstown was on the agenda…just to be sure I hadn’t missed anything really, really, really good.  I’d really hate to think I missed the boat because of an early close time.

So, with this thought I did a quick detour on my way home and hit a couple more of the shops along Route 272.  The good news is that we hit most of the high points with our stops the prior day.  The bad news is that we hit the most of high points with our stops the prior day. 

Country French Collection
2887 N Reading Road (Rt 272)
Adamstown, PA
The one exception was Country French Collection – this shop is in a renovated old barn and is just beautifully perfect for French Country style furnishings and accessories. 

The walls of this barn were so incredible!  Such character!
Upon entering I was greeted by the owner who was one of the most lovely ladies I have met in quite a while.  She was originally from Iowa but had lived quite the glamorous life as a model in New York many, many years ago.  She ended up in a corporate job and after years of corporate America ultimately decided to walk away and start this French Country business 20+ years ago.

The owner told me she used to import this copper ware from
Europe and did very well with both inventory and sales.  These
days her inventory has dried up so she is forced to import it from
China.  She even has several Chinese customers who purchase
from her and resell it!
The furnishings she sells are beautiful and truthfully have a beautiful price tag as well…sometimes just admiring beauty is enough right?
This antique coal stove is almost
a work of art with such a
beautiful design.  All I could think
of must weight 5 tons!
And her shop style is very singularly focused on French Country so if this is not your look you might want to just stop to admire the beauty of the renovated barn (it really is a beautiful structure!).

Can you say French Country...
I tend to like to mix styles (however, I wouldn't necessarily say eclectic) so a little French country is just lovely in my world.

Such a beautiful bistro table...the colors are so wonderful
and it has a beautiful patina from its age
This ended up being the perfect stop to wrap up a perfectly lovely visit to Amish country.  Fairly appropriate my visit ended up in a fabulous barn isn’t it.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Amish Country Antiquing Continued - Mad Hatter Antiques

After Adams Antique Mall since we were in “Antiques Capital USA” (Adamstown PA) we continued on to see what more we could squeeze in before everything closed at 5 pm.  I don’t know that I have ever been somewhere where literally all shops close up at 5pm and everyone goes home to their family, Sounds nice in a way doesn’t it…

Mad Hatter Antique Mall
61 Willow Street (corner of Rt 272)
Adamstown, PA
Anyway, our next stop was Mad Hatter Antique Mall.  Mad Hatter is located in a former hat factory, and it has that high ceiling, industrious look of a former factory.  I love that these old buildings are not only surviving but thriving with new businesses bringing life into them. 

Oh my, such fun fabulous lamps!
We spent quite a bit of time at Mad Hatter – there was soooo much to look at and such interesting things.  I can safely say they have the widest array of mid-century modern that I have seen……..anywhere.  So many things that we recognized from our childhood, it was fun, fun, fun! 
Vintage Blue Aluminum Christmas Tree...
how awesome is this?
So many colorful glasses...and jelly jar glasses too!  
Nothings better than percolator brewed coffee!  Every shape
and size was here at Mad Hatter.
The girls having 1950's hair fun
I think they were practicing for
the hair styling dream sequence
in Grease
Many (like 20) years ago I purchased a set of 1960’s Hazel Atlas Glass Co Capri Blue Dot high ball glasses at an antique store in Richmond Virginia.  I just loved the color and at the time my everyday dishes were plain white so the aqua blue glasses looked so nice on the table with them. 
Hazel Atlas Capri Blue Dot Old Fashioned
Hi Ball tumbler..I had to have them!
photo courtesy of
Over the years and through many moves most of these glasses had broken but I still have a couple.  In the last couple of years I have purchased a few additional pieces in this pattern as I have found it and I have to say I still love it.  Mad Hatter had a 4 rocks sized tumblers…I had to have them J.

Although most of the antique malls do strive for their own “personality” not all are distinguishable from another.  Mad Hatter is not only distinguishable but truly memorable for their fun wares and colorful groupings.  We could have spent hours if they had been open later than 5pm…on second thought, perhaps it’s a good thing it wasn’t.
This is the third fabulous vintage stove
I have seen for sale in the last couple of months.
I'm dreaming of having a kitchen big enough
for this!
Saved by the bell on this piece...if I
had only had a bit longer to contemplate
where I would put this it might just have made
it in my car...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Amish Country Antiquing - Adamstown Antiques

I have needed an official vacation for a while now…one of those vacations where nothing is planned and there is no stress what-so-ever.  I try to get at least one in during the summer since it’s such a short season here but this summer has been busy and tough to find a place in the schedule where it would work…finally I just blocked the time and have been off all week. 

It’s been wonderful but has been packed…that’s ok, I don’t do “nothing is planned” well anyway.
My vacation started with a short trip to Lancaster PA with some excellent friends.  Not planned on my part but I was happy to accept the invitation to join them for a few days and see the sights of Amish country as well as a few other fun things.

Adams Antique Mall
2400 N Reading Road (Rt 272)
Adamstown, PA
photo courtesy of google images
 We spent one very hot afternoon hitting the antique shops in Adamstown…Route 272 is packed with every kind of vintage shop you can imagine from mid-century to primitives to French country…it’s all there (and at every price range).

It took an impressive amount of restraint
(on my friend's part) for this to remain in PA
Our first stop was at the AdamsAntique Mall and we instantly knew we were in the right place with the most wonderful industrial looking pieces in front of the shop. 
it took an impressive amount of restraint (on
my part) for this to remain in PA...second guessing
that now though 
There was a momentary hesitation on our part when we walked through the front door and was faced with row upon row of locked glass cases.

An amazing array of jewelry - talk about self restraint...
would have been harder if it wasn't all behind glass though
We quickly by-passed these and found tons of open booths with wonderful things to browse.  While I understand why shops install these glass cases there is just something very unwelcoming about looking through glass.  I want to see things up close and be able to touch it if I want to (understanding the “you break it, you buy it” rule).
It has truly been a very long time since I have seen
so much depression glass as I saw in the many
shops we visited in pretty!
Lot's & lot's of vintage Christmas goodies
Loved this piece but it had been "refinished"
and had lost a bit of that rustic charm that
many of these kinds of things have
 This place is huge with more than something for everyone and a fantastic respite from the July heat we were feeling last week.  Even my friend’s husband (who by the way, hates anything “old”) had a fun time rummaging and walked away with some way cool old record albums. 

I ended up picking up the most wonderful pictures….not everyone saw the fun in these that I do but they will learn to enjoy them on future visits to my house (since they are going to be hung in my guest room).

Michael Berry whimsical prints...I don't care I say fun,
fun, fun!
Beautiful piece of wrought iron I am going to hang with
some bone china pin tray's in my dining room.  Friends
husband thought it looked like a large trivet...kinda does
but so much prettier!