Alcove Artistry

92ad16c6c3bb88efd2f669ea9c67e841If you happen to follow me on Facebook, you might remember me posting this photo as a beautiful way to enclose a tub. Another name for this enclosure is an alcove.

Alcoves have been used in homes for centuries. One of the original purposes was for sleeping with insulation from extreme temperatures

787ac229ea64a140aed921f5333808bdb8b4127e4de3a85a2e4ec392b7da00faFabric played a significant part in finishing the alcove. Lush drapery was not only for decorative purposes, but also served as protection from the cold or perhaps early morning sun.

fefad1218811826c0406496820c48ea2The above picture is a perfect example of an older beautifully detailed alcove. The delft tiles probably are a clue to it’s origin being somewhere in the Netherlands. The bottom is hand painted in very traditional blue and white. The doors add extra privacy and also a way to conceal the bed when not in use.

f9948b2cadabf2e102886c72c6ad4845A bed that is set into an alcove is similar to what a “Murphy Bed” would look like when open, but on a permanent basis. Daybeds or twin size are commonly used in alcoves because they are easy to conceal on all three sides.

cd8abd1d21c3bdace9afe441102fdf55194f09ca192a9de29a8f8aa9219073e3Alcoves can be just for decorative purposes, and especially useful for gaining storage space, such as shelves and cabinets.

368b36b729653b16005c2918c6d9e258This alcove is from a room in Versailles. The detail in this room is so perfectly French. Tassel trim, gilding, crystal chandelier and the intricate wood parquet floor (also known as the “Versailles” pattern) are all typical of the period….perhaps Marie Antoinette read in here?

82256b01732e1ec58718fa46af5fbf6fMy love of alcoves started as I was looking for a way to install a soaking tub that we have purchased for the new many ideas, but only so much room!

83d2c88070fc3edc354a6d7fc1823d83Alcoves are not just limited to French decor. I even found one that would be perfect in a log cabin.

7949fefe2cbf9ddbc20bcc29f5d931acAn empty space in a Tudor home attic became an alcove for one very lucky avid reader.

So creative!

cbe3a757bf0ebc4adb9db22f28dd027aThis one reminds me of a Swiss chalet. The detail is impeccable!

4d89837647b34d8c1f6811279082dc1bSome more examples of the Chalet style complete with old original hand painted designs…

e77cba4ad12b86f90650e92f7f0b4cce….even for a baby’s crib.

f2b785362cde75543ffcde0e3e6088efThe main focal point of an alcove is the archway that surrounds it.  It can be cut into custom curves, (although I would have used different artwork!)

34a6f996cb3c74622cba888eea649187straight with rounded corners,

28b1080d1f34aef3d15b75ff0bbe6983heavily draped and detailed,

98cf5bca492fc4cfd7e8bcee909ad6ccor hand painted instead of fabric.

03e06fc7161e1266924b25cd742bd98d0bd422317db0d2dcd622bb7f03a85132I am planning my bedroom alcove and want to have overhead lighting for reading and switches on either side so there is no argument about who turns it off. I also will make room for two small night stands and then have closets built in on both sides. I am excited to see the finished results.

94066615ac95b3786d11414120545917I just can’t decide which gown to wear!


Architecture of Hudson, N.Y.

DSC00628The town of Hudson, N.Y. is about a two hour drive north of Manhattan. It is well worth the trip for a day or even a weekend. Over the years, I have watched Hudson grow and develop into what is now one of the area’s most popular antiquing, dining and art destinations.

As I strolled through the town last weekend, I was impressed by how much renovation has been done to most of the buildings.

If you have never been to Hudson, simply set your navigation system to Warren Street and park at the first spot you can find. Wear comfortable shoes and spend the day browsing and dining.

The following photos are all taken in the town and will give you an idea of the vast amount of architectural detail and history you will see during your visit.


DSC00627DSC00629DSC00634DSC00631DSC00641DSC00638DSC00637DSC00644DSC00642DSC00639DSC00650DSC00647DSC00646DSC00657DSC00652DSC00651DSC00663DSC00660DSC00658DSC00666DSC00665DSC00664DSC00671DSC00667DSC00668DSC00674DSC00673DSC00672DSC00677The last building is the old Armory. It used to be an Antique Mall, however at this time it is unoccupied.

DSC00678An Equestrian mural covers a space under constructionDSC00670framefrenchgfairy002b


DSC00592This past weekend I ventured to Rhinebeck, N.Y. to attend a fair sponsored by Country Living Magazine. It was a beautiful sunny day and the secadas were in full force with their loud hum.

I have to admit I was not prepared for a venue of this size. My first clue was the brochure I was given to navigate the fairgrounds and the list of activities (seminars, entertainment, book signings and exhibitions) that were planned throughout the weekend.

DSC00553At the entrance to the fair was an exhibit put together by SISTERS ON THE FLY  (i in conjunction with COUNTRY LIVING MAGAZINE. As described in the program the “Sisters on the Fly travel the country in customized vintage RV trailers, promoting empowerment and sisterhood through outdoor adventure.”DSC00548The trailers were decorated and on display along with the merchandise for sale by each individual “Sister”.

DSC00544The RV’s are complete with eating areas,

DSC00545….kitchenettes, and a cozy little bed.

DSC00546DSC00551These woman were a friendly and welcoming bunch and are always looking for ideas to give back to their communities, so please look them up and consider joining or helping in some way!

DSC00549The Sister’s set the mood for what was ahead of me – lots of great  entertainment, food and of course, shopping!

DSC00555The rest of the fair was mostly set inside among the buildings that are on the fairground property.  I began my journey in the main facility. I looked over the railing to see a lot of people enjoying a free country music concert.

DSC00556This building was the introduction to the fair. At the entrance stood these rooster topiaries perched on top of pieces made from real bark.

DSC00557The “Harvest Market ” had many food vendors who sold their products. Besides the vendors, on display were dining tables which were set to various themes.DSC00558They all reflected a country feel.

DSC00559DSC00560DSC00562Another warm-up for what lay ahead! DSC00586Hand made fabric banners hung at the entrance to another vendor area.DSC00585The first booth I went to was THE RED DOOR Antiques.( I immediately saw this adorable foot stool.

DSC00565Next was SAGE FARM ANTIQUES ( I was drawn to their time worn collection of furniture and accessories. This bench got lots of attention with it’s bright blue color.

DSC00567What I thought was a display of several pieces was actually a single very creative bathroom vanity!

DSC00569A miniature bath tub held candles but would have been perfect as a country beverage cooler.

DSC00570There were hundreds of vendors and I was determined to see every one despite the crowds and heat!DSC00583At Mike and Jodie Roberts’ booth, ( I was drawn to the French flair that was displayed by them.

DSC00578Gold leaf everywhere but also a touch of white and weathered…

DSC00576I even found an addition to my collection of small, unframed paintings!

DSC00620I continued walking through the wood shavings feeling like I was at the barn. I felt right at home.

DSC00573Vintage gold leaf chandeliers…

DSC00579Feminine floral accessories with vintage quilts as backgrounds…DSC00582More splashes of pink….

DSC00584One vendor sold printed burlap and linen goods. Tables were piled high with pieces waiting to be made into pillows or put onto furniture.DSC00587DSC00588Now I have to decide what to do with mine!

DSC00619Christmas even came early to the fair. One vendor sold ornaments and accessories for the holidays.

DSC00590I found these plates for $4.00…

DSC00618On my way to the next building I saw this dresser. It was so realistic looking with it’s faux painted quilt on top.DSC00591And speaking of quilts, I had to take a picture of this one, made from pieces of vintage French fabric.DSC00595Recently, I purchased some half shades for sconces I will be putting in the new house. Coincidentally, to my right was the vendor who made them, Susan Schneider from SHANDELL’S (shandell’ makes all shapes and sizes of lamp shades in lots of fun and pretty paper and parchment. She also offers assorted accessories like this covered match box holder, that she so graciously gave me for being a customer. What makes it extra special is the equestrian theme and quote!DSC00617I also couldn’t resist taking a picture of her vase full of fresh peonies..

DSC00597Next to Susan was Chrisie Cordrey of CORDUROY SHOP (  Chrisie has just launched a new business in Hudson N.Y. which offers a mix of “all things textile”. If you are in her area, please drop in!DSC00599DSC00600With about four buildings still ahead of me, I got something cold to drink and continued to browse.

This vendor was a crowd favorite for obvious reasons..

DSC00602La CIGALE ( brought me back to wandering the back streets of France..DSC00610…while OLD FAVORITES ( took me to the feeling of South Beach!

DSC00611My last stop was at Mike Rawson’s booth, THE ROCKING HORSE CARVER (

Mike has to be one of the most talented and humble craftsman I have ever met. One by one, in his workshop, he creates these amazing pieces of functional art..

DSC00605DSC00604Mike also displays a horse in the construction phase, allowing the customer to see and appreciate the long process of layering and hand carving his blend of woods. Each one is completely custom and even has a real mini saddle!

DSC00606Much walking and several purchases later, I think I had seen all there was to see, so it was time to head back to the car.

What country fair wouldn’t be complete without farm animals?

Especially the ones you don’t have to feed! There were cows..

DSC00609to pigs..DSC00612and of course, a horse!DSC00614Thank you, COUNTRY LIVING for putting together such a great event!framefrenchgfairy002b

“Estate of Mind” Auction & Appraisals

Memorial Day has come and gone, and if you live in the Tri State area, along with all the weekend activities, it also means the horrible Friday night traffic to escape to the Catskills.

Upstate New York is the getaway area of choice for those who choose not to go south and sit in traffic for the Hamptons or Jersey shore. There is plenty to do and it is extremely peaceful and scenic.

30605_121552097877476_6804377_nHowever what about when it rains?

Antique auctions!

DSC00514That is exactly how I found Darrell Dirr’s  “Estate of Mind” auction in Middletown, N.Y.

About-Us~~element91 Darrel’s auction is held in his yard under a tent, so rain was not a problem. He even allows people to park on his lawn so they can attend!
DSC00516Darrell is a Certified Property, Antiques and Fine Art Appraiser, and also a Certified Auctioneer. These certifications are important to look for when buying or selling at an auction. It means the person is aware of the authenticity, value and condition of pieces and both buyer and seller are protected from any kind misguidance. Here is a great example:

fi4.cgiThis photo was in the preview of the auction. I thought it was just an older version of a “one armed bandit” and it would be fun to have as a conversation piece. However, with Darrel’s knowledge, he knew it was a “Poker Trade Stimulator”, named “The Little Duke” and  made in 1898 by the Mills Novelty Co.

It sold for $24,295.00!

Another example….DSC00513This painting caught my eye when I walked in. I thought it was so beautifully done. It was only 9″x11″ and I pictured it hanging on my wall.

Darrel’s expertise allowed the seller to be aware that this “cute” little painting was done in July 1875 by an artist named Willard LeRoy Metcalf, who studied under Claude Monet. It is titled “The Rocks of Nantucket” and sold for $21,470.00!

Needless to say, I was hesitant about bidding on this painting-  was it another priceless gem?

fi174.cgiI knew I liked it, but really wanted to love it!  I anxiously awaited it’s sale and happily took it home for $150.00!

Being under the tent meant that everyone stayed dry, so it was a pleasure to stay and watch the rest of the items being sold. I like to get an idea of what the current trends are regarding items and prices.

I was really curious about this piece …

fi21.cgi…A chair and ottoman made from animal horns. The reason for my interest was because of the very much publicized auction from the estate of Yves Saint Laurent, the famous designer. He had owned a chair very similar to this and I remember it selling for over $200,000. I don’t know if it was the famous name or the maker of the chair, but this one only went for three digits.

This chest was a bargain. Unfortunately it had been painted over but the hinges and workmanship were beautifully done.

DSC00512This piece was passed because no one bid on it .  For someone who likes the “country shabby” look, it would have been great in a guest room or bath.DSC00511I really liked this piece. Both sides were finished and aged nicely. Of course, also having an equestrian theme, I would have liked it but I decided to pass.

DSC00509This is a victorian papier mache box with mother of pearl inlay and was perfect for a vanity or dresser.

fi230.cgiThese urns are Sevres (manufacturer) and were perfect for a mantle or server.

DSC00518As I was standing in line to pay, I noticed this painting.

DSC00517I love paintings with sheep and I almost went back in to bid, but I managed to stay in line. Instead, I went home with my painting very happy knowing that, thanks to Darrell, I now have one more thing on my list of weekend activities.

Fishing and hiking are definitely over rated!