Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Let’s start with the most basic of mantle decorating designs:  candlesticks flanking a clock or mirror.  There is nothing wrong with this design.  Yet, take a look at it.  Does it really draw you in?  Does it turn your head or engage your interest?  Not really.


Step 1:  Add greens.  A base of natural greens – found in your own yard or clipped from the Christmas tree – is best.


Step 2:  Create asymmetry.  Change the height of one of your candlesticks to add flow to the display.  Here I use books – my favorite decorating go-to for giving an element the height it needs.


Go further with the asymmetrical design by moving the candlesticks together, and pulling the clock to an off-center position.

It’s getting better, isn’t it?


Step 3:  Employ vertical elements.  I’m removing the round clock so that I can add some additional height.


I’ve found just the thing in this vertically hung, vintage mirror.  Mirrors have the added benefit of their reflective nature and room-opening power.


Step 4:  Intertwine layers of garland.  Intertwining the wired, glittered garland with the natural greens gives shape and interest.  When using store-bought greens, always work with them to give them the lively shape that you want them to have.  Never leave them flat as they come from the store.

Here, interweaving them with the natural greens gives liveliness to the display.


Note how this base of greenery has tied the major, vertical elements together.


Step 5:  Add texture.  These paper garlands add whimsy and texture.


Step 6:  Include a theme.  They mantle already looks great, but we can take it to the next level with a theme – in this case I’m doing Woodland.


Step 7:  (Woodland theme)  I’ve added both a natural and a tinsel tree, combining the glittery with the earthy, as we’ve done with the garland base.


Step 8:  Add figures.  These felted deer provide a sculptural element, and serve the design function of linking the white, carved frame to the trees and garland below.


Step 9:  Maintain visual balance.  The ‘weight’ of the deer needs to be balanced on the opposite side.  In this case 2 large pine cones – one natural and one dusted with German glass glitter – work perfectly.


Step 10:  Tuck ornaments and tiny items amongst the greenery.  Small owl and squirrel ornaments complete the Woodland theme, as they add that extra level of interest – that little something you see as you come nearer to the mantle.

Compare this photo to the first one.  Quite a difference.  And we had so much fun doing it!


Step 6:  (Vintage Toyland theme) Let’s remove the formal candlesticks (which provided that shot of red for the Woodland theme) in favor of a vintage toy store sign.


While the elements are completely different (silver candlesticks vs. graphic sign), design-wise they serve the same purpose, which is to balance the trees and mirror.


Step 7:  Add whimsy.   Love the playfulness added with this candy cane.  It also draws together the base to the full height of the mirror.


Step 8:  Embrace scale.  If I had room on the mantle, I’d love to use this vintage toy horse in the display.  Alas, it just won’t fit.


Step 9:  Add little details.  Tuck vintage ornaments among the greenery.


Step 10:  Use graphics.  Add to the graphics of the toy store sign.  I’ve used the blocks to spell out N I P, as well as a little red and white bike license plate.


And here’s the final product.  I love the richness and detail of this display.


Note the little toy truck poking out from under the ‘toy ‘n joy’ sign.




Step 11:  Don’t forget the fireplace itself.  If you’re not burning a fire, use this space to display beautiful items that integrate with your mantle.  In this case the blue child’s skis, candy cane, and oversized letters do the trick.




Hope you found this inspiring and useful.  Let me know if you have any questions!

Thanks for reading!


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I’m totally in a garden state of mind. Our new landscaping is coming into full bloom, and it’s just been decorated with some great vintage treasures. Here’s few of my favorite images of it:


These sweet little chairs take on an sculptural appeal in the garden.  The green chest adds just the right punch of color.


In the little spring house, which the new landscaping surrounds, has a fresh look, too.  This pie chest and its topiaries are just the right balance for the weathered door and walls of this beautiful space.


Vintage trellis growing out of our boxwoods – which we planted in an old, concrete water trough.


I love how this vintage bottle reflects the soft light of the stone house


This exceptional, hybrid wisteria was just planted in March.  It’s been trained to grow along the ‘new’ stone and brick wall – created as a ruin from salvaged, vintage materials.


These ‘ruins’ are brand new – just constructed in March.  They comprise the main structure of our new patio area.  This wall continues to the left to our outdoor fireplace.


Looking back at the stone house from the fireplace area, these vintage furnishings invite you to linger a while.


And yes, I just had to share this image one my time.  I just love the magnolia playing off the rough, old silo.

Hope you enjoyed this look into our garden. What part is your favorite?

Thanks for reading,

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Think about Spring and what comes to mind?  Warm sunshine on your face.  A breeze carrying that kiss of warmth and promise of summer.  And gardens bursting into their own.

This Spring is bringing me the most spectacular garden I’ve ever had.  And it’s been such a rewarding lesson in being faithful to a vision.

Here’s some befores, some durings, and you’ll just have to wait a little on the full-on afters:

Beginning the Monday after our February sale, Jared Herman and his team arrived and began the earth moving.

Beginning the Monday after our February sale, Jared Herman and his team from Old Towne Historic Landscapes arrived and began the earth moving.

As the footers were poured, I began to see Jared's 2-dimensional design come to life.

As the footers were poured, I began to see Jared’s 2-dimensional design come to life.

I had tried over the years to create a pretty little shade garden along this wall.  The only thing that thrived was poison ivy.  Solution?  A water feature!

I had tried over the years to create a pretty little shade garden along this wall. The only thing that thrived was poison ivy. Solution? A water feature!

The brick paving throughout is artwork, but what I really can't wait to see is the water wheel that's going to be hinged on the iron frame built into the pond's coping.

The brick paving throughout is artwork, but what I really can’t wait to see is the water wheel that’s going to be hinged on the iron frame built into the pond’s coping.

Around here, you either Go Big, or Go Home.  Jared totally got that one.  This spetactular outdoor fireplace was built straight, on a hinged base.  Once it was set, Jared and his crew lowered one side to create a convincing 'ruins'.  It appears that the fireplace, over the years, has pulled away from the crumbling house walls.  Amazing.


The irrepressible crew, who worked through wind, rain, and snow to finish this huge job inside of a month.

The irrepressible crew, who worked through wind, rain, and snow to finish this huge job inside of a month.

The crumbling wall.

The crumbling wall.

From inside the  planting beds, accented with 'windows'.

From inside the planting beds, accented with ‘windows’.

The crumbling walls on the north side of the entry.

The crumbling walls on the north side of the entry.


The plants are coming in this week.  Can't wait to see!  I'll be shooting pictures all summer long . . .

The plants are coming in this week. Can’t wait to see! I’ll be shooting pictures all summer long . . .


This one’s of Jared, the mastermind and creative genius who saw our barns and could see the gardens they needed.

So there you have it.  Our work in progress is becoming pretty spectacular.  Jared’s planting a beautiful wisteria in that picture of him.  He planted it and trained it’s branches over the ‘ruins’ and up the fireplace.  The other plant he’s featuring?  Hydrangeas.  I almost cried when he told me.  I absolutely LOVE them.  And dogwoods, and magnolias.  Historic, timeless plants to complete the vision.

But what do I love most about the whole construction?  The stone and brick used in the walls and fireplace is all salvaged from toppling farm buildings right here in Frederick County, Maryland.  So in our own little way, we’re preserving something of those other barns that couldn’t be saved.

Happy Spring!  Hope you’re inspired to go out and create something wonderful in your yard.

Thanks for reading,


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Elle Decor (one of my favorite magazines) dished out their prediction of style trends for this coming year. Some of them are obvious, as we’ve already been seeing them. But some are unexpected things to look for:

1.  Brass is in

After years of silver being the hip, fresh metal, gold tones had to make a come back.  In contrast, brass now looks so new and unexpected.  Truth be told, this trend has been developing of a while.


I do like how the gold accents warm the space.  Not loving the walls and rug with it (or the lamp for that matter).  This room still needs some life . . .


Here’s an example I love from the Atlanta market I just attended.  The charmingly curvy legs on this pretty metal table make me happy.  I think I have just the spot for it.  The warm gold is just right for it, too.  It wouldn’t work at all in the shiny silver we’ve seen so much of over the past 5 years.

2.  Green is in.

This one I totally applaud!  As you probably know, green is my favorite color, and I just can’t decorate without it in one shade or another.  Pantone has declared Emerald Green the color of the year.  We’ll see.  But green in general is a must-have color.


I’m not one for pure modern (there’s a nice nod to history with the french chairs), but I just love this space.  And what makes it pop?  Why that fabulous chartreuse pear lamp, of course.  A continuing trend I’m predicting for this year:  lucite furniture.  That invisible little end table is perfect.

3.  Embellished walls

According to Elle Decor this means anything from full-on trompe l’oeil to sea-grass wall paper (a pretty broad category, if you ask me).  However broad, I love the trend.


Ahhh, my two favorite trends in one – embellished green walls.  To die for . . .


Here’s a great example from the Atlanta market I just attended.  This compelling Paris street scene was drawn with charcoal on a drop cloth, and put up as a temporary wall in the High Design hall of the market.  The image drew you straight into the ‘room’.


Absolutely love this space!  These ‘walls’ are also hand-drawn on drop cloth.  The ‘french moldings’ appeared to have been created with a Sharpie!  So clever.  And if you have a sure hand, so easy!  (The russet silk sofa is pretty awesome, too.  Love the perky, striped pillow with is.)

4.  Lace

This is one I’m not so sure about because, frankly, I don’t love lace.  But here’s a pretty use of it:


Lace accents on textiles is something I was definitely seeing in Atlanta, too.

5.  Beige is big.

Somehow ‘Beige’ as  a trend is a little silly to me.  I mean, isn’t Beige just always a go-to in interior design.  It’s almost cliché.  But they say it’s trending for 2013, and I’m not going to argue with the loveliness of these rooms:




And what makes Beige a workable, interesting design choice?  Use of texture.  Look at all three of these rooms, and you’ll see that it’s the variety and play of texture that makes them great.

What trends do you see evolving out there for 2013 and the future?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and observations.

Thanks for reading,


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Flea Market Style Weddings

Flea Market Style magazine has just launched a new title:  Flea Market Style Weddings.  Check out it’s first cover:


Chartreuse & co is listed as a great source for vintage wedding decor.  We think they’re right.

Here’s a sampling of some of the great wedding decor, gifts, and bling we’ve had here at Chartreuse & co:


Love these little martini glasses!  They were just $10 for the entire set.  The tray was pretty spectacular, too.


Bridal bling doesn’t get any better than this!  And what bridesmaid wouldn’t cherish one of these as her gift from the bride?


Don’t forget the vintage barware.  Just the thing to get the party started.



Love these transferware cups and saucers.  There are still 4 or 6 sets in the barn.  Maybe I need these myself . . .


These vintage insulators make great table-top decor.  A grouping of these with a garland and votives winding through them would be lovely.  Also nice as place-card holders for the head table.


And what’s a wedding without pretty silver serving pieces?


And a festive punchbowl?


Got candlesticks?


I’m loving the use of burlap as a foil to the formality of silver, crystal, and glitter.  These paper roses are a perfect complement.


Vintage silverware-turned-cheese tags.  Love it.


Pretty vintage gift for the bridesmaids – bath salts in a ball jar, complete with a vintage, silver-spoon scoop.


Go vintage for your dresses, too.


Nothing beats vintage bling!



Go a little unconventional in your candle choice.  These  soy candles are wine-scented and poured into re-purposed wine bottles.


Perfect way to preserve your wedding memories.


Love these charming little cards, just $2, each, yet they say so much.


Ball jars are perfect for the vintage wedding.  And we’ve got all sorts of accessories fro them:  flower-frog lids, solar light lids, taper holders, the list is endless.  Or you can fill one with wildflowers, and place tea lights in the  rest and have a simply charming wedding evening.


More inspired candle options


vintage doorknob stoppers, wine-inspired coasters


silver bottle coasters


vintage restaurant coffee maker – the best!


Light your candles in style – vintage lighters


The quintessential Ball jar


pretty vintage salt and pepper shakers


And, of course, crystal and silver candleabras.

Hope you enjoyed this little bit of inspiration!

Thanks for reading,


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Going to Market

I get asked all the time where we find all the great stuff we have here at Chartreuse & co.  The short answer is, “Everywhere.”  The long answer is that there are 30 of us searching the world, but mostly Massechusetts to Florida to Texas, and all points between for the amazing vintage items you find here.


Here’s a look at the highlights of a buying trip to the Roundtop, Texas Antiques Week:

DSCN0410 DSCN0367 DSCN0419 DSCN0415


But we also bring you great new things.  And this month a group of us are heading down south to Atlanta to attend the huge Home and Gift Market in Atlanta, GA, America’s Mart.  It’s three 18+story buildings completely filled with showrooms and temporary booths of the coolest, newest, hottest, best finds for your home and garden.

Here’s a few tiny images from their website (we’re not allowed to take photographs while we’re there, sadly . . .)


All the buyers are like so many hamsters in a habi-trail seeking that elusive perfect item.

Here’s a peak at what kind of things we’ll see:


It’s showroom after showroom of inspiration.




Aren’t these cool?  I just love the trends in lucite.


Yes, the whole complex will be dripping with Christmas!  This is where (and when) we order all that great Holiday decor each year.







I just love how antlers have become such a huge design element.  These lucite ones are fabulous!!




The blend of fabulous vintage with carefully-edited new is what Chartreuse & co is.  It’s how we all decorate.

We’ll be heading down to Atlanta in a week – what would you like us to be looking for?  Let m know.

Thanks for reading,


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Happy New Year!

Just had to share this stunning image from fleaingfrance.com.


Happy New Year!


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Check out the January 2013 issue of Southern Living magazine, where Chartreuse & co is featured as a great source in their article, “Instant Furniture Makeovers.”

It’s a great article, full of inspiring ideas – but be forewarned, these makeovers aren’t exactly instant. But they’re worth the effort. Here’s a sampling:


Before:  This great little barrel chair definitely needs love, but the shape is great.


After:  I would have done something more fun with the fabric, but now it’s fresh and ready for life in your home.


Before:  Grandma chairs like this are all around.  It’s not exactly inspiring, but search for one with solid construction, and hand-tied deck (the area that underpins the seat).


After:  Love this transformation.  The decorator has ditched the dated (and not very comfortable) overstuffing in the seat-back, and replaced it with a much sleeker look.  The fabric a great, too.  And it’s so much more up-to-date without it’s skirt.


Before:  shabby set of Swedish-style chairs


After:  Love the limed-wood treatment and the oh-so-chic leather seats.


Before:  plain, serviceable sideboard


After:  A great accent for any room.  Here it’s pictured working very nicely in the foyer.  I just love the daring use of color, and the oversized vintage knobs make the piece shine.  (The darling little chair beside it is lovely, too.)


Before:  the always overlooked sewing table.  Yes, there’s a sewing machine inside.


After:  Remove the sewing machine and, (such a great idea!) paper the table with birch-wood patterned wallpaper.  Just love this one.


There’s lots more in the magazine, on news stands now.

Have a Happy New Year, and thanks for reading!


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I just love wrapping presents.  I wrap them, stack them, beribbon them.  It just plain makes me happy.  Here’s a little of what I’ve done this year.

The silk duponi ribbon makes this stack of golden packages shine.

The silk duponi ribbon makes this stack of golden packages shine.


I combined metallic silver mesh ribbon with sheer red for the bow on this one.


The tone-on-tone of this one was a little more masculine (this stack is for Chip).


I actually leave this nativity scene out year round.  It’s beautiful in its own right.


Don’t fear using a big bow or ribbon on a tiny package.  This little box is no more than about 2″x4″, and the bow takes it way up in the “I’ve gotta open this one!” contest.


Always finish off your packages with an extraordinary gift tag.  Think of the tag as the jewelry that completes the outfit.  Whether simple or over-the-top extravagant, the tag makes the package.  Remember – it’s the first thing the recipient looks at.


Mix up the wrapping, and pull your presents together with a coordinated bow.  If you don’t have a gift tag that’ll work, tuck a beautiful card in.


Here’s the riot of packages under our tree right now.  In years past, I’ve used all the same paper and one or two complementary ribbons.  This year the only similarity is the red and gold color scheme.  There are 3 different papers, and countless different ribbons.  I really like this effect.  And it was such fun making each present unique.



Try interspersing your greenery and holiday bling through all of your holiday displays.


The pretty glass angel is a gift I just received this year from my aunt.  She tucked into my holiday greenery so nicely.


I don’t know about you, but I’m very picky about the faces on my statues.  This little Christ Child is just beautiful.  I was so tickled to find him.


Always bring as many candles to your dining table as you can fit.  The light is bewitching, and they’re so festive.  The red ones are a great new find from Bella Villa.   It’s a candle and super-ornate candlestick all created from wax – the entire thing burns.  So cool.


If you love your displays from one season, just tweak it for the next one.  I just loved my sideboard display from fall, so I simply traded out the amber light branches for the frosted white ones.  Then I tucked greenery and glittering silver sprays for a dramatic Christmas effect.

I hope you’re having a warm and peaceful Holiday Season.  It’s actually snowing here today, and we’re having a truly whiter Christmas.  I’m so looking forward to heading out to Christmas Eve Mass in the snow, and walking through the streets of downtown Frederick as it becomes covered in its winter blanket.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Thanks for reading,


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Here’s a few pictures of my fall-decorated dining room. I had a blast putting it together – just in time for my daughters’ birthdays and Halloween.

Hope you like it!

I just love the play of the heirloom pumpkins against the silver candlestick and European sack linen.


The graphics of this non-working Big Ben clock on my mantle add some playfulness to the formal room.


Okay, so I have a clock thing . . . This one is adorable, and perfect when perched upon these 18th century French books.


These candlesticks are a favorite auction find. They’re from a church alter and are the perfect scale for my 11′ ceilings.


The mantle. (The bull’s eye mirror is from my grandmother. This spot is exactly where she always had it. When I look through it, it takes me back to my time as a little girls, fascinated by my distorted reflection in the glass.)


The sparkling, amber branches give off the perfect warm, fall glow. We leave them on all night as nightlights. (The dining room is the nexus of the house. With 4 doors in and out, you can’t get anywhere in our house without going through the dining room!)



I love adding an unexpected element to a table vignette. This vintage print was just perfect for my fall composition. The little mouse makes me happy, too!


The sideboard was also my grandmother’s, and also in exactly the same spot where she had it.

Thanks for reading!


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