Sunday, September 18, 2016

White Fall Decor and New Arrivals

They're heeeeere!! Luminas, Baby Boos and other white pumpkins have invaded local grocery stores. While it is still somewhat warm to fully dive into fall decor, I just couldn't resist these ghostly beauties. With their pale patina and autumnal form, they are the perfect accent to transition from summer to fall.

At Tone on Tone, we are once again celebrating the arrival of fall with subtle inspiration from nature. Enjoy this preview, and stop by to see much more.
For this tabletop arrangement, I went WHITE ON WHITE. In an antique French painted iron urn, shed antlers are placed at the bottom, and then Baby Boo pumpkins and bleached pinecones are layered on top. That's it, so easy! (If you cannot find bleached pinecones, try spray painting.)

The arrangement sits on an antique French chest, but it would also look fabulous as a centerpiece on a dining or center table. It's interesting from every angle. And because it is low, it won't block the line of sight of dinner guests.
Here is our gleaming "great wall of china" where I like to display the shop's collection of antique white ironstone. On top of this Continental 9' long, narrow table, I casually placed three footed cakestands with piles of Baby Boos. To dress it up, a homespun linen runner underneath the cakestands would look smart. BTW, cakestands make everything, not just cakes, look more special. So elevate your fruits, pies, cookies as well as quiches to new heights!
From soup tureens to serving platters, our white ironstone pieces are ready for your dinner parties. Note the large oval fish platter with its original drainer in the center of the second shelf - quite scarce to find the set intact. The three footed stands on the far right were made for serving cheese; these are typically lower than cakestands.
Look at these two large, flat White Boer beauties! They are sitting on a French round tilt-top vendage / vineyard table that would have been brought out for special wine tasting occasions. At 46" diameter, it would make a lovely breakfast or center table.
Here are some fresh arrivals just in time for fall. A pair of newly upholstered Swedish barrelback chairs with unusual form - taller plus slightly larger than the typical Gustavian ones. They are sculptural, handsome and comfy, too.
These striking pillows are made with antique embroidered textiles. Both the azure, in that shade of sky found on clear autumnal days, and rich terracotta bring the splendor of autumn inside. The ground color is tan.

Speaking of pillows, I couldn't resist this fun, fuzzy one in teal - there is something very lux about Mongolian lamb. It makes our pair of antique French wingback chairs, with new Belgian linen and down filled cushions, even more inviting.

For the cooler nights ahead, cozy wingback chairs are must-haves! Our pair is beautifully and simply carved without all the fussiness.
This pair of antique Swedish painted chests is another new arrival. They have all the classic Gustavian elements: leaf-tip carving, fluting, clean lines and that chalky finish. 

The wildflowers (or weeds?) came from the side of the road. Yes, that was me snipping an armful on Little Falls Parkway in Bethesda :)
Please visit us at the shop or online to see additional new arrivals. We'll be adding more to the website soon.

Now a throwback to a few of my favorite fall moments from our shop and home.
A vignette featuring pieces with pale patina. The garden statues of spring and winter are available here.
Lining up the Luminas after a thorough washing in our former kitchen.
Warty gourds! Don't forget about the wide range of gourds available this time of year. When it comes to them, the quirkier the better. And like my pumpkins, I love them light and bright
A lighter shade of pale! Last season I created this white fall centerpiece with simple gatherings from nature. I had no idea it would become so popular. It went viral with over a million pins on Pinterest plus endless reposts on Instagram. Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Country Living and numerous blogs all featured it online. Many, many thanks to everyone for sharing it!!
Happy Fall!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

In the Limelight

Hello! Welcome back!

Where did summer go? There is still another month left, but with the bombardment of fall catalogs and the start of school (which is earlier each year) it sure seems like summer is being pushed aside.

Well, I'm not ready for fall yet (except, maybe, for the arrival of white pumpkins!). Neither are my LIMELIGHT hydrangeas in Maine. The twenty or so shrubs, planted three years ago, have finally filled into a showstopping hedge.

The Limelights are incredibly hardy. They are in full sun and don't mind, unlike other varieties including Annabelles which droop pitifully unless constantly watered. Plus, each one has made it through Maine's harsh winters only to bloom beautifully and abundantly.

Now 5' - 6' tall, our entire L-shaped hedge is covered in blooms of summery chartreuse that brighten to soft white. And when the temps start cooling, those flowers will turn pink signaling the true arrival of fall.

So catalogs, let's not push the fall merchandise just yet - summer is too short to rush!
When I was designing this garden, I knew the area needed boundary delineation, not so much for privacy but for structure. Instead of a fence, the space called for something living, friendly and soft. Because it would be prominently located and quite long, whatever was planted had to be pretty. I decided against a dark green hedge which would have been a little stiff, formal and monochromatic. After researching low maintenance shrubs that bloom reliably during July and August (when we are at our summer home), Limelight hydrangeas seemed a great choice.

Three years later, the L-shaped hedge, which runs along the back of our home and wraps around the side, has matured beautifully. Tom and I receive numerous compliments on our summer showstopper, which, by the way, is also lovely in the fall when the flowers turn rosy pink. And, we're told the hedge looks sculptural coated in the pristine Maine snow.   
From our breakfast and family rooms, we look out to this stunning view of stately historic houses, ancient Elm trees, and the Limelights. 
In Maine, the flowers open a lime green in late July (above) and soon turn white in August (below).
The hedge ends just before the kitchen located in the addition. Other than the ornamental cherry tree, this garden outside the kitchen, screened porch, and barn was recently planted.

When Tom and I acquired our historic home, there were diseased Maples, planted too close to the house, along with spindly Firs plus endless weeds of every kind. (See the before photos at the end.) We immediately had the big trees removed. After lots of weeding, we had the five Spruces planted for vertical structure and year round greenery. We then gathered the native ferns on our property and transplanted them around the trees. 

The latest additions are the three dwarf Limelights to the left of the barn doors. Planted in May, this is their first season. So far, so good.  
From the gravel drive to the house is a short pathway of granite blocks with moss growing between. There are also Astilbes (rescued from other garden beds on our property) and annual Salvias here.
What to do with all the flowers? Enjoy them inside, too! I filled the antique iron urn in our dining room with loads of Limelights for dinner parties and cocktail events. The above flowers were cut in early August, while the ones below in mid August. Note the different colors. 
Two more arrangements: one on the family room coffee table with ferns, and the other with Gooseneck Loosestrife in a pink Hungarian pottery jug.
Speaking of Gooseneck Loosestrife, they have taken over the front garden beds. Here they are blooming along with Phlox and Astilbes - I took the photo on a foggy morning.

Gooseneck Loosestrife is attractive but invasive. We inherited them, and do remove a few here and there. But since this is a second home, I try not to fuss too much about the garden. Whatever will grow happily with minimal watering AND still look good, I tend to leave alone.

Now let's check out some before photos.
In addition to the new landscaping, we replaced the roof as well as lots of rotted wood. All the clapboard and trim were scraped, cleaned and painted.

I love sharing a dramatic transformation :)
PS - See more on my INSTAGRAM.   

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Highlights of the Castine House and Garden Tour!

It's July and that means summer in Maine! Summer in Maine means lobsters, blueberries, sailing as well as house and garden tours.

I'm thrilled to say that the 2016 Castine House & Garden Tour, sponsored by the Castine Historical Society, was a huge hit with record attendance! From the 18 featured properties including historic homes, cabins, cottages, gardens plus the lighthouse to the perfect Maine summer day, the event was fun, festive and flawless.

A big thank you to the local volunteers who greeted every visitor with a friendly smile. The docents, shuttle drivers, and many others all deserve credit for their enthusiastic teamwork in making this event such a success. There would not have been a tour without Ruth and Lynne, the Co-Chairs, who started organizing, coordinating and managing every detail beginning last summer. And, thanks to those who generously shared their homes and gardens.

Thanks of course to the many visitors who kept coming all day! I'm especially grateful to my blog, Instagram and Pinterest friends for attending - appreciate your support! Though we're social media pals, it was awesome to finally meet in person :)

Without further delay, I'll share a quick highlight of what I was able to see. Because I volunteered as a docent, I didn't get a chance to catch and photograph every property. Click on photo to enlarge.
The beautiful tour poster designed by the talented Meredithe and her team at Meri Meri.
A few photos of our home on tour day.

Look, no more power lines! Our town recently buried all the power lines on Main Street. The sidewalks, granite curbs, lamp posts and asphalt are all new. Everything was finished just in time for the big event.
Inside, a few of my myrtle topiaries in the dining room were ready to greet visitors.
A stunning summer arrangement of wild grass, garlic scapes and dogwood branches created by Nancy for our antique iron urn. I asked her to go BIG and gutsy, but keep it informal.  Everyone, Tom and I included, couldn't stop admiring it. Merci, Nancy!!

Nancy (who lives in Castine) along with her team of volunteers arranged many of the stylish floral pieces for the tour.
The tour started at 10:00 AM but people started lining up early - there was such a buzz around town!
This historic home's edited palette of white, gray and black mixed with brown antiques and a pop of gold looked so striking.
ABOVE and BELOW: This cool, contemporary style beach house originally designed by acclaimed architect Neil Middleton in the 1980s was recently renovated. It is situated among fields of wildflowers with a panoramic view of the sea. Check out that industrial dolly as a coffee table. I want it!
ABOVE: A timeless cape with clean lines, simple color scheme and classic furnishings. Several little rooms were gutted to create this large, airy living space 
There was such a diverse collection of homes and gardens featured. Each had its own unique point of view. Here we have a 1930s log cabin that oozed charm, character and personality with custom built furnishings, Maine finds plus vintage items including the collection of fabulous lobster dishes. Don't you love that massive stone fireplace? Talk about showstopper!
Many houses in Castine are white inside and out, including ours, so it was exciting to see color used beautifully here. Also, the homeowners created these artistic arrangements with fresh flowers from their own gardens.
Speaking of gardens, this one perched high on the cliff overlooking the Penobscot Bay simply took my breath away. It was designed by Maine landscape architect Bruce Riddell. Native blueberries and lush ferns along with favorite perennials and specimen trees are tucked amongst bold granite resulting in a tapestry of plantings and stonework.
From Nashville to New York, thanks to my social media friends that came to the tour - such fun meeting everyone :) Hugs to Linda and her lovely family, Catherine and her gorgeous children, Elizabeth, Billie, Wayne and Glenda. I apologize if I missed anyone. Nearly 700 people came through our home!
Lastly, Tom and I are grateful to the 11 docents, including Ellie, Sylvia and Jane (visiting from England), who volunteered at our place. You all are the best!
PS - For more photos, check out my INSTAGRAM.