Sunday, April 30, 2017

Tablescaping is Fun! An Homage to Dorothy Draper Style

West Virginia's Greenbrier Hotel has maintained its iconic status as America's Resort since 1778, and Dorothy Draper's brilliant interior design has been a major factor in that status since post WWII, when she was commissioned to redesign its interiors.
The Greenbrier Hotel, Upper Garden Lobby Room
It is that iconic Dorothy Draper style that has influenced my "Tablescaping is Fun!" title today, in a takeoff of Dorothy Draper's well-known books, "Decorating is Fun!" and "Entertaining is Fun!".
Today's featured china is an updated setting of a prior tablescape created in 2014. It is mostly vintage Homer Laughlin China (HLC) Company of Newell, West Virginia. Dorothy Draper's brilliant branding strategy of stamping bold florals, most notably the WV state flower of the rhododendron, found its way on pretty much everything used at the Greenbrier, including this china manufactured specifically for the hotel beginning in 1947.
I've added a few of my MacKenzie-Childs and MacKenzie-Childs inspired pieces to the mix of my latest tablescape, putting a Dorothy Draper spin on things. I'm certain she would agree that tablescaping is fun! In Carleton Varney's words, "Dorothy Draper was to decorating what Chanel was to fashion". Bolder is better!
The plate stack is resting on Courtly Check chargers, while my center table runner and coffee pot, creamer are MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check inspired creations by charter Traveling Tote tribe member, Patti Pultorak.

Extending the plate service, you can see some of the variations in the collected Greenbrier china I own. A green band on salad and bread & butter plates, and pink band on the dinner plates, all with the rhododendron transfer on center, are the trademark Draper emblem for the Greenbrier. The cups and saucers vary, some with the rhododendron transfer inside the cup, others without. A few other Greenbrier serving pieces are added to the table, as is the green depression glass tidbit, a piece that belonged to my mother.
I've chosen to use my Napoleon flatware in pearl green (Horchow) for this tablescape.
The pale pink vintage luncheon tablecloth (linen) is set diagonally on the table, and matching napkins are simply folded and placed within the antique, iridescent and swirled, pink depression stemware.
In bloom currently in our region is the Rhododendron maximum. As mentioned earlier, it is West Virginia's state flower. This variety is also commonly referred to as the American rhododenron, great laurel, great rhododenron or big rhododendron. It is native to our land, and it can be found growing wildly throughout much of our wooded, mountainous regions. Many of our neighbors grow it in their landscapes also. Bloom times will vary around the state, from late April through June, when our state's birthday is celebrated (June 20).
Though simple, the trio of Rhododenron maximum blooms in silver julep cups makes another bold addition to the table's center.
The center bloom - the largest of the three - sits in a Greenbrier monogrammed hotel silver julep cup, also part of my collection. That cup is slightly larger than the other two, and was part of my auction wins of retired Greenbrier items. That auction was held in 2011, shortly after Jim Justice, a West Virginia native, bought the Greenbrier outright in 2009 in an effort to ensure its future. Jim Justice is currently serving as our state's governor, elected in November 2016, while his family members are managing the Greenbrier.

Today, the Greenbrier china remains highly collectible, even though the pattern has seen several variations over the years. With Carlton Varney - once Dorothy's protege and currently at the helm of the Dorothy Draper & Co., Inc. - that bold and colorful style retains its classic staying power today just as it did when first introduced.

I invite you to visit my prior post, here, to read more of that Greenbrier china history. Much more of the history of the Greenbrier Hotel itself, as well as some great photos, can be found in my post on the Historical Greenbrier.
I hope you enjoyed this tablescape today with an homage to Dorothy Draper style, and find fun when you set your own tables! Thanks for your readership, and your comments are welcome.

(A special thanks to Chloe at Celebrate and Decorate "Celebrate Your Story #76" for featuring this post!)
Rita C. at Panoply

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 in our home (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