Sunday, April 23, 2017

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Shopping

I've confirmed what I thought true all along....I do not relish the remodeling process. The last ten weeks have been a sort of purgatory for me with the kitchen updates and bath remodel. So, when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. I'm talking Panoply vintage shopping. I managed a few therapeutic outings over the past weeks, so I'll share those now.
Early in the year, I saw this terrific vintage Persian lamb wool suit in our antique mall being sold by a neighboring dealer, complete with hat and purse. So Jackie O!
Moi, sporting a vintage Persian lamb suit in my old master bath
I thought it would make a great ensemble for the Breakfast at Tiffany's bridal shower I co-hosted for my niece in March. I ended up being lazy practical and didn't wear it. I'll likely resell it.
Vintage brass graduated  pineapples
An estate sale in early February yielded a few heavy metals, the first of which are pictured above. They're not exactly Matryoshka dolls, nor do they exactly nest, but I thought they were pretty darn cute, each with a separating lid. They're also back again - have you seen the pineapple ice buckets in current retail?

The second cluster of vintage metals I bought at that same estate sale was a collection of mantiques.
Metal Mantiques
The man of this household had a great cave, complete with memorabilia from all sorts of sports activities. I also picked up the trio of belt buckles and the heavy brass eagle from his man cave.
Metal Kitchenware
The red kitchen items (above) are cast iron, and the yellow scoop is enamelware, all metals also purchased at that estate. The enamelware is marked Yugoslavia. 

I do believe these next couple of finds will be fostered a good while in my home, both purchased in a favorite shop on a trip to Abingdon, VA. The first is an antique piece of majolica in a basketweave pattern. There are no maker's marks, other than 3 tiny kiln marks where it was fired long ago. 
Majolica dish in basketweave pattern
Only about 8" across and 2" deep, I don't even know what its original purpose was, but the dealer said she thought it would make a great dish for forcing springtime bulbs. 

I simply couldn't resist this next piece, a small Russian lacquer box with a pastoral painting.
Russian Lacquer Box
As you can see when compared to the covered butter dish on the shelf it sits, it's only about 3" high and 2" across.
It was just the find I needed when spring arrived and my house was depressingly a mess.
Pastoral Detail on Russian Lacquer Box
Another estate sale yielded a few more things I categorize as some of my favorite types to pick. First, a very old, framed pastoral lithograph and plaster sheep. Do I need them? No. It's not about need.
Antique Pastoral Lithograph and Plaster Sheep
I saw a preview photo of the Royal Stafford "Hayride" transferware plates I bought (below). These aren't even old, but I had to have them. I need more dishes like I need a hole in my head, but what's another hole? It'll be easier for my marbles to fall out, I suppose.
Royal Stafford "Hayride"
As if those dishes weren't enough, I bought the following pieces of ironstone. The creamer pitcher immediately went on the shelf in my laundry room collection. That cute little plate is 6" (marked Sebring Pottery Co), complete with the printed rhyme, "The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn". It has a hairline on the edge (near the 8 o'clock position), but I'm guessing someone else will love it just the same.
Ironstone pitcher, Sebring Pottery Co plate
Lastly, I came upon a few antique books and booklet. None larger than 5" x 7", they were fun finds.
Antique Books
I've also managed a few retail splurges just after last weekend. I'm trying to take my house back from all the intrusions of construction crews. The work should be finished in a day or so, other than painting soon to follow, unless it's not finished.......I say that with sincerity, as there were a couple issues - right at the very end - remaining to be resolved. I'm hoping for the best.

The projects at home have been my primary focus since January, even to the point where the antique mall booth spaces have suffered the consequences. I'll be glad to get back to the fun of styling spaces, both at the antique mall and at home. As with most of my vintage finds, all are subject to being fostered awhile or eventually sold.
Thanks for your visit today. Does a little shopping lift your mood?
(Postscript: Oops, I almost forgot the little metal star. That's a cast iron, masonry, decorative piece that would have been on the end of a structural rod support on brick architecture of old. This one is small, 4.5".)

Rita C. at Panoply

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Kitchen Update is Complete - For Now

Hello, readers! I realize it's been awhile since I've checked in. While we're still in the midst of our master bathroom renovation (getting closer), our kitchen updates are complete - for now - and ready to share. It's naked, not dressed or styled in any way, but still looks pretty good, and makes me smile over the decisions I made.
Without going into a lot of the before detail, this is the link if you'd like to backtrack and see my 1980s version of kitchen. My design board of updates shaped up as the following photo collage (the complete source list is at the end of the post, and can also be found on my Pinterest Board titled Kitchen Update Ideas):
My ultimate goals were as follows:
  • Replace the following appliances: refrigerator, wall ovens, cooktop, vent, dishwasher, disposal, and eliminate microwave on countertop
  • Replace formica countertop, eliminating built-in blender system on island
  • Replace sinks (main and wet bar) and faucet fixtures
  • Install backsplash on kitchen counters (main only)
  • Retrofit cabinet above refrigerator, alter wine rack to shelves for display
  • Replace 2 can lights over island with 3 pendants
  • Add under-counter lighting on main kitchen counters and can light over wet bar
  • Add electric outlet at wet bar and under-counter at island; separate electric breakers where necessary
  • Paint
Mission accomplished. 

Most of these updates were checked off in one week, but not fully complete until 6 weeks later, due to the two cabinet retrofits. Those retrofits were subcontracted, and their lead time held up kitchen completion another 6 weeks due to that contractor's backlog. Painting was scheduled immediately following the two cabinets being re-installed, and the kitchen was completed the first week of April.
My selections for appliances, fixtures and stone were centered around these guiding principles:
  • We were merely updating our kitchen, not gutting it or reconfiguring the layout at all
  • We were keeping our cherry wood cabinets
  • We were not replacing the tile floor
  • I wanted to maintain as much light as possible within the kitchen area
  • I wanted new appliances to blend cohesively, and without further alterations in the kitchen
  • I wanted the kitchen to continue to flow smoothly with the rest of the open concept floor plan
I lugged around quartz samples for months, trying to find something to blend with the existing cabinets and tile, while maintaining light. My quartz choice (Viatera Aria) has a nice blend of grey, white and khaki-tan veining that helped me achieve the goals of blending and keeping things light, as did the sinks, which are a granite-blend composite by Blanco. The Delta faucets have a nice touch feature that allows the stop and flow of water by touching anywhere on the spout or handle (which you can opt to disengage).
The ceramic subway tile is Walker-Zanger's Fog Matte. The grout color is TEC's Sterling. I found a grey stone finish backplate that coordinated with my ceramic tile, and had all the electric outlets and switches changed to light almond. The paint choice for kitchen walls is Sherwin-Williams Creamy (SW7012), while ceiling and trim is Extra White (SW7006).  
Initially, I wasn't positively certain about replacing any appliance besides the refrigerator, but because we installed quartz, we did not want to risk future issues with keeping the existing cooktop set within the new quartz on the island. The tricky part, then, was finding suitable appliance replacements, given our layout and dimensions. 

We ended up replacing all appliances except the trash compactor. The cabinet above the refrigerator became an open shelf (to use as either a bookshelf or for decor). The top wall oven is a Monogram with Advantium technology unit, which replaces our microwave and also allows speed cooking, convection, and conventional baking. (Speed cooking can best be described as a blend of microwave and convection cooking). The cooktop now has a telescopic vent fan vs my previous downdraft vent. The tradeoff is I now have 5 cooktop burners, but lost a bit of my under cooktop storage for the down telescope vent position.
I went with a blend of black stainless steel (refrigerator and dishwasher), stainless steel (wall ovens, cooktop and vent fan), and the original black front compactor, which blends with the other choices.

As you can see, my wet bar is situated at the edge of my kitchen, in the adjacent space where we have our breakfast table. I chose not to tile the wall behind that faucet so it would look less like a kitchen in that space. My goal is to use the wall and shelves for display (there are additional peg holes and one more shelf for cabinet portion). By not having a tiled backsplash, this allows me flexibility in hanging a print or plate(s) on the wall, as well as leaning them against the wall. There's now an outlet in that wall too, allowing me to use the counter as additional space for a blender, crockpot, music, etc.
I was able to get everything I wanted in this kitchen update, and even scored a few deals. Once you decide on brands and models, it pays to Google your selection and then click on the shopping setting at the top menu bar of your internet open window to research your options.

The "for now" postscript on the kitchen being complete: I may or may not change the 57 hardware handles on the existing cabinets (the count was 59 until the cabinet over the fridge was reconfigured). The ceiling remains to be painted. We learned that our tub in the master bathroom upstairs will necessarily have to be plumbed through the ceiling in the breakfast area (just about where I was standing for the photo above), so there will be more mess before the final cleanup on this first floor. Lastly, I'm looking forward to styling the shelves and counters.
Kitchen Update Source List:
Quartz - LG Viatera Aria - Johnson Granite (Mt. Airy, NC wholesale distributor)
Ceramic tile - Walker-Zanger Fog Matte - Smith Tile (Charleston, WV wholesale distributor)
Grout - TEC AccuColor silicone sealant Sterling - Smith Tile (Charleston, WV wholesale distributor)
Backplates - Hampton Bay Stone Grey Finish; switches and outlets in light almond - Home Depot
French Door Refrigerator, Dishwasher with Waterfall Technology - Samsung - Home Depot
Electric Wall Oven, Built-In Wall Oven with Advantium Technology, and Gas Cooktop - Monogram - Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery 
Universal Telescopic Downdraft System - Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting Gallery 
Pendant Lighting - Hudson Valley Dalton -
Sinks - Blanco Siligranit Diamond series in White (Prep Sink and 40/60 Low Divide Main)
Disposer - Kitchenaid 3/4 HP Continuous Feed
Faucets - Delta Essa with Touch 2O Technology
Paint - Sherwin-Williams Creamy (SW7012) Emerald line in matte finish for walls; Extra White (SW7006) Pro Classic line in semi-gloss finish for trim, doors, and ceiling 

Thanks for bearing with me as I captured the details of my kitchen update project. If you have any questions about the timeline or experience, feel free to contact me. I'm not compensated for any of what happened here. I don't typically disclose expense details, but you can glean that by research.

(A special thanks to Linda at Coastal Charm's Show & Share No. 358 for featuring this post!)

Rita C. at Panoply

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Nature's Way Spring Tablescape

Welcome Spring, welcome readers! Spring is my absolute favorite time of year, and I am happy to be sharing a tablescape today to celebrate the season. If you're new to my blog, you can see from my menu bar the topics I favor, tablescaping being just one. I especially like to incorporate vintage items into my decor whenever possible, so you'll often see that fusion with new, retail items. 

What better way to welcome Spring than to explore all of nature awakening? My tablescape today is a medley of many of the textures, colors and figures of things one might encounter in nature's way throughout the early days of spring. Given the premature blooms resulting from much of the country's warmer than normal February this year, it's easy to forget spring's typical awakening. Let's explore that more typical pathway of nature's awakening, shall we?
Trees are at their best in terms of appreciating their form and shapes when still bare of leaves, or just as they are sprouting new growth. For this, I felt it appropriate to use my wooden chargers as my base for the plate stack. These locust wood chargers were hand cut and finished by an Etsy seller in Ohio (complete source list at end of post). One side has been polyurethaned, while the reverse is the natural woodgrain. Depending on the mood - polished or plain - either side can be face up.
My plate stack began with a classic set of creamy white dishes, acquired with a recently redeemed gift card from a lovely group of friends. They will be my new, go-to set of everyday dishes with my soon to be finished kitchen updates. They represent the wispy clouds that fill the sky as the sun makes its way higher in the Spring skies, as days begin getting longer.
The salad plates used are majolica, in a cabbage motif, perfect for spring, and a nice complement to the green glass water goblets. They mimic the early garden bounty that cooler garden temperatures yield.
Paired with the dishware, the off-white flatware proves to be another classic staple for any table. The natural linen napkin prompts a vision of a sandy, loamy soil from which the spring bounty grows.
Spring is a time when, if you get out in nature, you are likely to see mallards on lakes and rivers, often times in breeding pairs. Here, I am using my mallard casserole as part of my tableware, nesting within a wicker basket, both elevated on an ironstone cake pedestal.
If you are a nature enthusiast, you may have a birdhouse or two which you've cleaned out, hoping for potential tenants. My green birdhouse is new, so I set it upon the table as decor. I've placed a silverplate salt and pepper pair of birds as the tenants near the birdhouse. Pip berry buds are another sign of early spring which you may find on casual hikes or walks in nature's way, swelling among the branches of certain trees such as the willow. My pip berry garland encircles both the birdhouse and casserole as the table's centerpiece. 
I collect unusual serving utensils because I often host family events at my home and can put the utensils to good use. Delightful yet small purchases, the salt and pepper pair, as well as the talon tongs pictured below, are just two examples of those finds from antiquing ventures. They certainly help carry a nature theme here. The pewter metal pitcher and Jefferson cups also ground the tablescape in an earthy way. They were a living estate purchase.
The serving dish was another vintage find. 
I love a masculine/feminine appeal to much of my decor, and this tablescape is yet another example of my flair in that direction. This tablescape could also easily be pulled off as a St. Patrick's Day themed tablescape. Though not your typical leprechaun and shamrock display, it certainly is a nod toward Irish Folk and Countryside, much like my Irish Country tablescape created here.
Thanks for your visit at the table today. I hope you enjoyed my Nature's Way Spring Tablescape.  I invite you to browse my menu bar of topics at the top of my blog and, if you find you have similar interests, I'd love for you to come back. I hope you feel welcome, and leave a bit inspired. 

Nature's Way Spring Tablescape Source List:
Dinnerware - Pfaltzgraff "Filigree"
Linen Napkins, Pewter Jefferson Cups & Pitcher, Silverplate Bird S&P, Sterling Claw Serving Tongs,  Ironstone Cake Platter, Majolica Serving Platter - Vintage
Duck Casserole/Tureen (estate acquisition), Majolica Cabbage Salad Plates - Williams Sonoma
Wicker Basket - Antique Farmhouse
"Sophia" Flatware in Off- White - Horchow
Green Glassware - Dollar Tree
Pip Berry Garland - Save-on-Crafts
Ceramic Birdhouse - Hannah's Pottery 
Wood Chargers in Locust - Etsy

This week I am joining all the bloggers conveniently listed below, where you can simply click on any - or all - to see a proverbial garden of spring tablescapes blooming. A heartfelt thank you to Chloe from the blog Celebrate and Decorate for organizing and hosting this roundup!





Rita C. at Panoply

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Breakfast at Tiffany's Themed Bridal Shower

Recently I co-hosted a bridal shower for my niece who will marry in late April. She adores Audrey Hepburn, and has a particular fondness for her character of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. It was a natural choice in a theme for her bridal shower, and a collaborative effort in executing all the details.
Breakfast at Tiffany's Themed Shower Collage
My oldest daughter, who will be her cousin's matron of honor, was the event planner. She secured the venue just before Christmas at a local Woman's Club. It had a space ideal for our group size expected. We started a board on Pinterest and gathered all ideas related to a Breakfast at Tiffany's theme, as well as sources for supplies needed.
Venue for Shower
I signed up to provide vintage decor insofar as tablecloths, gloves, pearls and sunglasses were concerned. My sister (mother of the bride) contributed a couple of Audrey Hepburn posters her daughter had left at home when she moved out. We gathered other things we already had such as a framed chalkboard and tabletop wire mannequin, and created a fun and welcoming entry, with a party favor table nearby.
Welcome Sign for Shower Guests
My sister also printed and framed several Audrey Hepburn quotes. We scattered those among the tables we set up for the guests.
"Anyone who ever gave you confidence, you owe them a lot."

Table with Name Tags, Thank You Envelopes for Guests to Address

"I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It's probably the most important thing in a person."

Framed Poster, "Breakfast at Tiffany's", Beside Favor Table, Near Entry

Favor Table: "The Beauty Of A Woman Is Seen In Her Eyes, Because That Is The Doorway To Her Heart, The Place Where Love Resides"
Shopping at both the Dollar Tree and Oriental Trading Company, my sister sourced inexpensive Tiffany blue boxes for takeaways, and we placed those on the tables at each seat. Hershey kisses had little stickers glued on the bottoms with symbols and words like "I Do".
"Always Wear An Invisible Crown"

"For Beautiful Eyes, Look For The Good In Others, For Beautiful Lips, Speak Only Words of Kindness; And For Poise, Walk With The Knowledge That You Are Never Alone"

"Did I Tell You How Divinely And Utterly Happy I Am?"
It's amazing what a string of lights can do for atmosphere. We placed those behind the bride's seating. I gathered a few Tiffany boxes from home, and my sister wrapped a couple plain ones with Tiffany blue paper for additional scattered decor.
The Bride's Seating Area

I purchased Tiffany, Holly Golightly-inspired sleep masks for the wedding party from this Etsy dealer. The girls used them for their bachelorette party the weekend prior, and then we used them for decor at the shower.
One friend - dubbed the BridesAide - is always creating, and she helped in a big way also. She made the welcome sign at the entry, the banners, paper flowers, and the bow bouquet from the bride-to-be's gifts. She also brought several kitty props, as she shares a loves of cats with my niece.
Paper Flower Decor

We downplayed as much of the venue's mauve and green 1980s decor as we could, including stowing away two round, country tables with ladderback chairs, but the black piano actually blended in very well with several Tiffany blue paper lanterns set across its upper ledge.
Paper Lantern Decor 
Another matron of honor took charge of setting up a mimosa bar. :)
Mimosa Bar "Drink Up Darlings"
My daughter and I handled the food menu, grocery shopping and preparation of most all of what we served, as well as toting the serving pieces, utensils and other supplies. I prepared the charcuterie and vegetable trays the day before the shower, while ham and egg salads were made by my daughter and sister. Three of my sisters assembled the tea sandwiches the morning of the shower while the rest of us decorated.
Food Buffet: Charcuterie, Veggie Trays; Fruit; Egg & Ham Salad Sandwiches; Hummus and Crackers
The cake! Oh my goodness. For a girl who loves Breakfast at Tiffany's and cats, this cake was divine! My daughter had the cake custom made for her cousin, and added the donuts as another nod to the movie. The coffee/tea station was set up to the left of the cake.
Kitty Cake with Breakfast at Tiffany's Theme
Pictured below is the mother of the groom, my niece and mother of the bride (my sister).
The crowd we had ranged in ages from mid-twenties to mid-seventies, so we limited the games with just one, at the table (two parts): What's in Your Cell Phone, and What's in Your Purse? Printed at home with an image of Audrey as Holly Golightly, using black and turquoise ink, it was a simple game, a sort of ice breaker after guests were seated, prior to eating and gift-opening.
Simple gifts for the winner of each of the cell and purse game, along with a door prize, assured participation by guests.
The groom and dads arrived near the end of the gift opening, after having their own party of pizza and beer. We embarrassed the groom by pushing him to the front while my niece continued opening gifts. :) The bride was thrilled with not only the gifts received, but the shower of love shown with the party details.
Given the bridal season is upon us, I've shared these details in the hopes of helping anyone who may be planning their own Breakfast at Tiffany's themed party, whether it's a bridal shower, tea party or other gal pal fete. The decor certainly doesn't need to break the bank, nor does the venue or catering. You just need to be willing to put some planning and effort into the event.
Have you planned an event that you felt was successful in how you carried it out? Do tell!

Rita C. at Panoply
Behind the scenes, full disclosure style: I was in the throes of week 3 of renovations at my house when this bridal shower was to occur, kitchen updates being one of the projects. While having the event at an outside venue was ideal, it meant additional organization and moving things, something I seem to be doing plenty of lately. Luckily, the backsplash and grouting had been completed just 2 days prior to my food prep for the event. Daughter #1 was the primary event planner, but we appeared to look more like Sanford & Son with the things we hauled to the venue.
Before, During and After Party Planning
Additionally, daughter #2 is also in the wedding party and was planning to be part of the decorating and food committee. She, however, ended up sick after the bachelorette party the weekend prior, and was hospitalized 4 days the week of the shower (better now, thank goodness!). Let's just say carrying off an event such as this has its trade-offs in money you spend for someone else to handle details vs time and labor you invest in yourself. I sure felt my age the day after!

Rita C. at Panoply