Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A Patriotic Tablescape: Celebrating Freedom, Always!

Hello! Welcome to my blog, Panoply. Today's subject is a tablescape celebrating a patriotic theme. It's my first tablescape in our new home. If you missed the tour, you can see it here. I am joining a cadre of stylists whose links are at the bottom of this post, each of us sharing our individual ideas on the same subject. You still have time to plan and use these ideas for the 4th of July! These ideas may very well also be used for other patriotic days we love and celebrate here in the US: Memorial Day, Armistice Day, Flag Day, Veterans' Day.
Thank you to our host, Chloe Crabtree of the blog, Celebrate and Decorate, for organizing this group in order to bring you new and creative ideas all week long, for your own patriotic holiday celebration. If you're coming from Kari's blog, Me and My Captain, you've surely been both inspired and entertained with her style and quick-wit.
My inspiration for this summer celebration came from a set of salad plates discovered on sale while recently on vacation. Casual and carefree melamine, I knew they'd be a fun choice to layer on my everyday service. 
I have never been one to go all out with a stars and stripes theme. Versatility and simplicity were key factors in my decisions for elements used in this tablescape, and the plates can certainly be used throughout summer. Small things like the miniature flags and the stars used (a set of cling-ons) are inexpensive items picked up and added to the table and glassware. Easy on, easy off and not permanent, just fun.
The napkins are blue and red bandanas, twisted and placed in the base of a silver napkin ring to resemble a small firework at each place setting on the table. Paper straws with a red foil fit the summer theme just as easily as they may a Christmas theme.
Red handled flatware is also a versatile choice for this holiday, as well as for Christmas or a traditional Valentine's table. The tablecloth is actually a vintage matelasse bedspread, and the "placemats" are vintage French dish towels.
My home state - West Virginia - celebrates its birthday on June 20th, so I later added a state slate cheese board to the table, marking our capital city with one of the cling-ons. West Virginia is the 35th state to join the Union, proclaimed during the Civil War on June 20, 1863. It was on that date which we officially seceded from the Confederate state of Virginia to become a separate state and joined the Union. West Virginia was a key Civil War border state. Our state's slogan is "Montani Semper Liberi" - "Mountaineers are Always Free"!
Freedom, Always Tablescape Source List
Dinner Plates - Pfaltzgraff Filigree
Salad Plates - Williams Sonoma Newport
Flatware - Bed, Bath & Beyond
Glassware - Blenko decanter and Libbey drink glasses
Straws - Michael's
Miniature flags, Star cling-ons - Big Lots
Bandana Napkins - Dollar Tree
Napkin Rings - Pier 1
Tablecloth - vintage (twin matelasse bedspread)
"Placemats" - vintage French dish towels
Slate by state - mine was a gift, but current web search shows available at Bed, Bath & Beyond
If celebrating patriotism with your guests at a gathering is your pleasure, you'll surely want to visit the list of bloggers below for more ideas. Thank you for joining me today, and I hope you'll share a comment to let me know you stopped by. Come back and visit again!





Rita C. at Panoply

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Welcome! Our Urban Dwelling Tour

After six months of planning, purging, organizing and packing, we are completely moved out of our former home. As a point of reference, my last home tour featured on the blog was from Christmas 2018, when we were already under contract to sell, and can be read here.
We are embracing downsizing into an urban condo dwelling, going from approximately 5,000 to just under 2,300 square feet of living and storage space. Our loft was listed as a 3BR, 3.5BA condo, but we are using the two extra bedrooms as his and her individual spaces. The best way to explain it all is to show you all. Grab a drink, I have a lot of pictures!

Our building was originally constructed at the beginning of the 20th century, developed as condominiums in 2007. There are six floors, and nine units total. Upon entering our front door, there are two steps up. The entire dwelling is then on one plane, with wood flooring set on the diagonal throughout all living spaces. All baths have heated tiled floors, as do the entry and fire exit. Window coverings are uniform, remote-controlled dual blinds, one being light-filtering, the other room-darkening.
We asked the seller to include several items in our purchase, and we have worked some of our own previous furnishings into the mix, purchasing only a few new things. I'll try to note these as I take you on the tour. I haven't hung anything on walls yet, with one exception.

Great Room: Living, Dining, Kitchen
The great room is seen immediately upon entering our front door. The sectional, dining table & chairs were the seller's, and we are keeping them, at least for now. They work well in the space. The armillary and canvas tote on the floor pictured below were previously in our sunroom.
The back side of the sectional is ideal for the nested Hekman tables I purchased last November at an estate sale. The occasional table beside the sectional, Parsons chairs, and accessories were all in our previous home, all pulled from different rooms. I bought SureFit slipcovers in grey (Target online) to blend with the dining chairs. These chairs will be extra seating for company. I'll inject more color when Mr. P. is not watching. 😉(Kidding, but I do have at least three other sets of slipcovers).
The dining seats were still covered in plastic from the seller's original purchase! A medical professional, the seller was the original owner of this loft, and only dwelled in this condo one day a week for nearly ten years. The kitchen and bar area can be seen in the background. All interior doors but one are Italian track doors (glass). The coat closet track door is shown below.
In the corner of the dining area, I kept my French curio from the former home, and much of my silver service collected over the years. The wall behind the dining furniture is prime space for some sort of arrangement, which I am still deliberating.
The view from the kitchen/bar area shows a wall with two track doors. These were formally bedrooms, now his (left) and her (right) spaces. The electric fireplace is functional for both ambient light and heat.
I kept my Orfanello statue that was previously in our entry at the former house.
Balcony, View:
Seller included the deck chairs and small table for our balcony. My two favorite garden statues made the cut and keep me company out here. The glass block wall you see is the back side of the shower in one of the baths.
City views from our balcony. We can see what's referred to as the "city and state" view - various church steeples and our state capitol in the distance. The river is also easily viewed from our balcony.
His space:
As noted, one bedroom was made to be Mr. P.'s space, the left side of the wall with center electric fireplace. The first thing we did was have this room and our master bedroom repainted. Below are the before (top) and after (bottom) of his space.
In the now furnished space (photo below taken from opposite corner), we brought our Henredon sectional bookcases and credenza that were previously in our family room. The Ekornes Stressless recliners with ottomans are new additions (love!). While this room is still not fully organized, it's already a comfy area for reading and watching television. The lamp on the credenza (seller's) matches the hanging lights in our living area. One wall is exposed brick in this room. Mr. P.'s computer area is tucked away in the space next to the window on the right.
The adjacent bath (sliding door entry can be seen in photo contrasting the paints) is from the realtor listing. Not much has changed, as Mr. P. is being quite guarded in what he'll allow me to put in his space.
Her space:
My space is on the right side of the wall of the sliding doors flanking the electric fireplace in the great room. 
A mix of furnishings from our previous dining room (entry cabinet), sunroom (chaise), living room (Asian credenza and table, mirror, tall and short floor curios), guest bedroom (mannequin), basement (bookcase and mid-century side chair), along with seller's grey flannel side chair and small credenza now used as desk - all make for a completely new mix among the cozy red painted and brick walls.
The tall curio will house part of my antique purse collection, a future styling project.
My computer, printer and stereo speakers are hidden in the corner as best as can be. Did I mention there were nine (9!) televisions mounted in this condo?? I'm not kidding. There's a TV in each full bathroom. We may use 3 or 4 of them, but I didn't want them removed until we were certain.
The closet in this space (behind mannequin in photo above) will be my household furnishings closet. The adjacent bath to this space (a track door across from the entry cabinet) is also a photo from the realtor's listing.
Powder, Laundry Rooms:
On the opposite end of the condo, beyond the kitchen wall, is a main hallway. Off of that hallway is a shorter, intersecting hall (directly behind kitchen wall) that leads to the powder and laundry rooms. The latter is the only room with a conventional door. The powder room is the only room where I hung something on the wall, my antique sheep print. The small cabinet in the powder room was formerly a CD cabinet in a small sitting room
This space is quite small, but perfect for company to use.
Just beyond the powder room is the laundry room, equipped with compact Miele washer and dryer (seller's).
Opposite the equipment wall, I brought in my baker's rack from the former home's sunroom. Every inch of space counts, and the seller was brilliant in his space design. Behind that cabinet door on the wall is a pull down, swiveling ironing board, just perfect for our needs. There's a TV mounted on the wall opposite the ironing board. 🙄
Just beyond the intersecting hall with powder and laundry rooms are yet a few more rooms along the main hallway.

Master Bedroom, Bath:
The master bedroom is at the near end of the main hallway mentioned. This is the other room in which we immediately changed paint colors. Before (top) and after (bottom) are pictured below.
This space is much smaller than our previous bedroom, so furniture placement was a creative mix of [mostly] pieces used before. The leather chairs were from the family room and dining room, the chest of drawers and mirror from my previous office/guest room.
Lamps and side tables were from various rooms as well. The cedar chest was a necessary storage piece brought from our previous bedroom, as was the Sleep Number bed.
We purchased the headboard new, Amish-made and special ordered to match the chest of drawers.
The master bath is pretty large, with two sinks, a huge walk-in shower with nine shower heads (maybe 9 was seller's lucky number??), and an adjacent infrared sauna room (and another TV in between, lol).
Utility Closet:
Our utility closet (and fire exit), situated at the end of the main hallway beyond the master bedroom and bath, has a unique design concept: the utility closet is built behind a variation of a jib door! As seen below (real life, those are framed prints not yet hung on the left side), the jib door/bookcase is housing many of my books, CDs and video discs.
Behind the door is the utility closet, housing the HVAC unit and water tank, as well as the fuse box, cleaning supplies, tools and paint. I'm a total fan of how our seller designed this space (on his own). He told us he had designed office spaces and other homes he's lived in. 
In leaving our home, one feature I'd hoped to retain was some sort of garden. Our building shares a terrace garden that is designed on two levels, great for entertaining. There's also garage parking in the basement and ground floors of the building, two spaces for each loft.
If you've stuck with me this far, I wish I could refresh your drink before you go on your way. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed the tour. I know many of you are nowhere near ready for this lifestyle. I wasn't quite ready either, until last year. You'll know when the time comes, if at all.
I'll likely share how I handle storage, some noteworthy points on purging, and other organizational issues I've been dealing with over the past six months in future posts. I'm just happy it's [mostly] in the rear view mirror now! 

Feel free to leave your comments. If you can't say anything nice, just let the crickets sing. Thanks for your readership!

Rita C. at Panoply

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Tales of the Traveling Totes #19

Hello, readers! I am delighted to be joining my fellow traveling tote tribe sisters in an update of the latest adventures! To read how this group originally began, click here. To read all about my tales since joining the group with my two totes - Miss Luna C and Miss Charley C -  you can go to this link.

I have been totally and wholly submersed in my project of downsizing since we last recapped on March 1, and I am beginning to see the light at the end of this tunnel.

On March 15 it became quite clear that I needed some help in purging and organizing from nearly 5,000 sq feet down to 2,300. I rented a 10' x 10' storage unit to help myself out. Miss Charley C thought this was the perfect answer to storing much of my 'stuff'.
She was right. On April 10th, the first of three phases of moving occurred. This is mostly my vintage inventory that I rotate between home and shop, fostering and selling. I hung all my wreaths along the top of corrugated steel perimeters with over-the-door hooks, S hooks and wreath hangers.
The second move of the furnishings which made the cut to the condo occurred on April 23rd. Things are still disorganized, not ready for debuting on the blog, but coming soon.  A third, final move will be made from our prior home to the auction house before the 10th of this month (fingers crossed).

I took a couple opportunities with Miss Charley C to break from the stress of the downsize. The first was with Mr. P. to his 50th college reunion (!!). That was mid-April in Bristol, TN, celebrating alumni in an event called Dogwood Weekend. There were several planned events throughout the weekend honoring his class, including a breakfast (below). My saucer had a dogwood on the bottom, so I was the lucky winner of the table centerpiece begonia.
We took some time to walk the campus, beautifully designed with buildings around an oval.
We went inside what is now the university's theater, previously home to the school cafeteria when Mr. P. was a student there, and had a little fun, running into a few celebs.
Edgar and Miss Charley
Me & Willie & Miss Charley C
Following that weekend, a girlfriend from high school days invited me and a few other classmates to dinner out and an evening of 70s music by the Doobie Brothers. As you can see below on the TV screen at the sports bar where we dined, this was the same day as the historic close of the PGA Masters tournament which Tiger Woods once again claimed the winning green coat!
Our performance center for fine arts is a venue performers almost always comment on, with great stage accommodations and acoustics.
We had a blast, before, during and after the show! I saw the Doobie Brothers in the mid-70s, and they're still just as good now as then, with original members Tom Johnston and Patrick Simmons.
A little fun outside, after the show, with sculptural installments on the property.
With all the time and effort spent on downsizing, my goal was to turn over the keys to the new owner by May 31. We came close, as the final move of remaining furniture is scheduled for transport to the auction house no later than June 10. My capstone to the move was a planned trip to the Gulf Coast of FL at the end of May, beginning of June. This is one of my happy places, and this time we're celebrating my birthday there, too. There'll be more to share about our new digs and summer fun in upcoming posts, I promise!


The Traveling Totes Tribe is offering another giveaway. Ricki Jill of The Sketchy Reader is our giveaway sponsor this time. One lucky reader who leaves a comment on Ricki Jill's June 1 post will have their name thrown into the hat for an opportunity to win this MacKenzie-Childs neoprene wine bag! I have one and it's really nice - you'll love it. Hurry over now!

Where have all the other Traveling Tote tribe members been this winter? Check them out at the links conveniently located below to see. It's always fun when we come together, no matter where we travel, near or far.

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths
Emily with Miss Courtney Childs@ The French Hutch
Patti with Miss Kenzie and Miss Taylor @ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss Coquille @ The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Luna C @ Panoply (you are here!)
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie with Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess de Monet @The Sketchy Reader
Cherry Kay with Miss Carrie Ann Hall @ Entertaining Women

Come see us again on July 31 in a special post, "Fun in the Sun". We wanted to capture summer as it's happening, and show you how our totes enjoy the lazy days, summer breezes, and other outings of the season.
On September 1, we officially close out summer and recap our adventures. Be sure to leave a comment on Ricki Jill's blog with this adventure for a chance to win the wine bag! 
Thanks for your loyal readership, I appreciate each and every one of you!

Rita C. at Panoply