Money Pit Update

Sadly, my brain has been programmed to receiving bad news in regards to our house. But I am very happy to say that this past month has been a very productive time and things are really coming along.

Again, a HUGE thanks to my builder, Joe Montana, of Montana Contracting in New York along with my husband who both patiently listen to and put up with my daily hormonal outbursts, meltdowns and tears.


The exterior stone has been delivered and is in the process of being applied.


The windows have been installed also.


This is the kitchen. I wanted it to have a conservatory look.


The roof is completely done. It is a work of art!


This lovely thing is a concrete tank to hold water runoff. Apparently, they are now required by the state and the size of them is determined by the square footage and pitch of the existing roof. The gutters are buried and meant to drain directly into them. Obviously, the state anticipates a lot of water, because I had to bury three of these and they are about 15′ wide and 5′ deep.



The garage floor is being poured today.


All the retaining walls required on the survey are completed. I want my whole yard with walls in different levels with lots of perennials.


The patio doors were one last reminder of a mistake made by “Dick”. I wanted knotty alder, he ordered mahogany. I hate them and can’t return them, so the one on the right is covered with a test stain that has brown in it to hide the red tones. I’m not sure I like it but I have no choice.


And finally the turret is complete, it fits, it works and the puzzle is complete and finished with my beautiful copper Fleur de Lis finial.


There is still a lot to do. The cable and electric have been buried, plumbing work continues and framing touch ups. Now is the part I really can’t wait for….sheetrock and decorating!!! My house will start to empty up and we will be able to walk freely. My three storage units can be emptied and I will no longer have a $1000.00 bill every month. My builder can free up his warehouse and get rid of my monster sized tub, my tile, and my 3000 lb. stone front door surround.

But the best part of all???

Not one person from the housing police in at least three weeks. I know I shouldn’t talk too loud, but what a pleasure to not see or hear from them. It’s sounds like a Master Card commercial-

Building a house in this neighborhood??? …$$$$$$$$$$

Not seeing or hearing from the housing police???……PRICELESS!!!!!!!


Restoration Project

Remember this?


And these?


For those who are new to my blog, this was a piece purchased on Ebay and unfortunately was delivered with some serious damage. I decided to keep it and repaired it using my arsenal of glue. molding clay and paint.

The finished product came out great and looks just like the photo I used for reference.


So now that summer is coming to an end, I have decided to tackle a new project.

About ten years ago, I bought this piece at an auction. Nobody wanted it. I had no place to put it at the time. Because it was so beautifully detailed and crafted by hand I knew someday I would do something with it.


It is about 60″ wide and must have been a window valance. There is considerable damage to the piece with one side that has been replaced by raw wood.


This is the opposite side and how it looks right now.


As I absolutely love this kind of challenge, I gathered all my tools. The most important being self drying modeling clay.


A dry brush for cleaning all the dust and dirt without destroying the gilding.


Sculpting tools..


gold spray paint ( I’m too lazy for gold leaf)


And lots of water to keep the clay moist while working.


The damage is pretty bad, but with a lot of patience I know I can pull it off. Although patience is not one of my best qualities I have to wait as I sculpt each piece that is missing, wait for it to dry, attach it, prime it, then put the finish coat.

This part has the most damage, but the other side is in tact, so I have a good reference point from which to copy.


The shell at the top just has some surface rub. The gold leaf that was used is extremely bright and shiny gold, so the paint I bought worked perfectly on a test piece.


Antique pieces like these were made using wire as the foundation for detail that were separate from the base as in this garland of flowers.


The clay was built up around the wire , giving it extra stability. Here I have already built up and smoothed the clay to match and blend in.


When it is dry I can prime and paint. I did the same thing in this example of a flower that was missing. It was easy to copy the one next to it, attach it to the base and now wait for it to dry.DSC00922

I probably will use this piece in my new powder room as a valance for hidden lighting over a vanity. This kind of work is so rewarding and also saves a lot money compared to having someone do it. As time goes on, I learn new ways to improve my restoration jobs. Trial and error is the best teacher.

I definitely have a few weeks of work ahead of me!


Auction Action

This past Tuesday was a busy day for auction lovers. Doyle Galleries of NYC held   their very popular “Home” sale and Time and Again Galleries in New Jersey started one of their two day sales which contains almost 2000 lots.


There were many things in both sales that I really liked but of course didn’t really NEED anything.

The designer in me always has a pretend client or room that I create when I see something I like. A perfect example is this pair of tole florals.


I pictured them in a very feminine sitting room, lots of soft upholstery and pastels colors. They did not sell!

This beautiful trumeau mirror was on my “wow, I’d love to have that but don’t have a place for it” list.


The price was where it was expected at $1000.00 so I felt better knowing I didn’t pass up a real bargain.

This pair of crystal and bronze lamps were a steal for $63.00


They are perfect for a vanity or server.

Armoires must be losing their popularity. Two beautifully carved French armoires were passed and this Louis XV style with mirrored fronts sold for $406.00!


This one sold for $438.00


I remember them being in the $2000.00 range when they were used to hide televisions.

Another surprise were these Louis Vuitton suitcases.


They went for $563.00 for all three. Usually buyers are on the phone from all over the world to get anything LV!

These hand painted panels were perfect for inside boiserie panels or to make a wall hanging to hide a television.


Altar candlesticks are always a staple for French decorating. This pair of silver leaf lamps were nicely priced at $250.00.


I have been looking for a nicely detailed white commode and this piece fit the bill. The entire piece is hand painted with a tone on tone trellis design and marble top. It will now be in my bedroom!


This walnut console with marble top was a nicely detailed piece, great for an entrance and well priced for $188.00.


Brass and crystal girandoles are always perfect on dining room buffets or as bedside lighting. At 27″ high, they were a steal for $125.00 the pair.

859580This hand painted dresser was really charming. In fact I would put it in the same room as the tole flowers. And it was only $500.00!


I am a collector of Minton china and when I saw these, I fell in love.


A beautiful pair of pink hand painted compotes. Gorgeous detail, but with repairs. Oh how I could picture these in my collection! But being I am in the process of choosing plumbing fixtures for the house, I opted on a faucet set instead. I really have non-buyers remorse but I’ll be o.k….

Another auction is always on the calendar!


The Greenwich Cup

Labor Day has come and gone and unfortunately it is the end of all things summer.

I had to have my last hurrah…

It was a perfect sunny day at Conyers Farm in Greenwich, Connecticut and an even better venue awaited us.

Horses for me, rugby, cigars and fine scotch for the husband and lots of handsome polo players for the daughter.

The match was sold out but we were lucky enough to get a parking spot right by the Grandstand.


The food selection was from local restaurants and caterers. It was overwhelming how much there was to choose from.

At the entrance was the traditional champagne selection.


I settled at the booth of “RIZZUTO’S”  where I ate the most delicious cold seafood assortment.  Mussels, scallops, shrimp and crab in a light lemon dressing was my one and only choice.DSC00850

Before the match, there was a dog costume contest. Apparently, this is serious business with some tough competition.

My favorite was the three sisters dressed as ballerinas.


At 3:00 the polo match began.


I really wanted to join them, but so far my efforts at polo playing are not up to the speed that I saw. Still, it was fun to watch and see all the beautiful polo ponies.


Even hubby was happy enjoying two of his favorite things.


At halftime, the traditional “stomping of the divots” is held. Everyone goes on to the field and replaces all the grass kicked up by the horses.


The Grand Finale was finding the “Pretty Woman” in the tent with her matching dog, although I personally would have preferred to see Richard Gere.


We were even treated to a gift bag to bring home. Just a mental note for next time- never wear heels to a venue on grass!