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Updated: 2018-04-20T04:45:44.513-04:00


Pink Rules.


It was a sad day yesterday as we had to put our old dog Balto to sleep. Balto came to us at age 12 as a rescue. His elderly owner had died. He's been a handful in the sense that he hated the car, the vet, the stairs, other peoples house, having his nails cut and a few other things. He was, however, a sweet loving dog who recently survived being attacked by a German Shepherd. RIP old boy. We love you.

In Happier news, DIL went into hospital to have her breech baby turned 3 weeks before due date and ended up with a baby an hour later. We have our second little grand daughter and we are so happy and excited for Brandon, Tray and our dear Emma. They sent a video of Emma meeting her new sister and I've watched it 5 times and cried 5 times. No name yet for bubbie. 



My first sold painting
Blogging has been on the back burner lately, although I still read all my favorites each day. We had Thanksgiving in Florida and walked in our neighborhoods local Thanksgiving day parade. What fun that was. Followed by dinner for 22 at a neighbors, it was a wonderful day with our American friends. Home to snow and cold winds, but Girl Child is living at home for 3 weeks before her move West, and with Girl Child come Henry Francis....a sweet bundle of cuteness and bulldog oddness to brighten our days. 

Sadly, our half blind, deaf, boy Balto got attacked by a German Shepherd Monday night. He was pretty badly beaten up, puncture wounds in his neck and severe neck bruising, but he survived. He's extremely sore and we have him doped up a bit for pain relief. Henry Francis has been sweetly concerned about him.

I've joined a painting group. 5 of us amateur artists meet once each week to paint, chat and eat biscuits. My "painted Ladies" suggested I post my paintings and put a price on them, so I did, and I sold the one in the top photo. I had lots of people ask and I've never been able to tell them a price because of self doubt, shyness and just not knowing their value. So that was pleasing to me.

I've been helping Girl Child sell off and get rid of some stuff. Clothes were sorted and sent to consignment where they bought the lot. Instagram postings of other bits to flog was a huge success, including this stool below which she could have sold 10 times...maybe Henry Francis posing on it made it more desirable.

Our dear Henry Francis. Modelling on a step stool we sold.

Another painting....getting braver showing my work

Advent Clandar


The count down to Christmas is so exciting for children. I've always bought advent calendars for my kids, but this year, now there's a little one, I decided to make a family one. I went to Michael's and bought 2 packs of these little unbleached cotton sacks. I stamped the numbers on using black paint. I then went in search of a branch or something I could hang them all on. That wasn't too successful as it was too lopsided. I found a metal piece out for trash. It is one of those metal stands to hold an election sign on the lawn (or window, handyman etc companies). It was a bit sharp and rusty so I wrapped it in Jute twine gluing it as I went.I filled the treat bags with chocolate teddy bears, snowmen, lady bugs, santas etc and hung them from the wire cage. Some I hung on a piece of festive twine so they would hang lower and the rows would sit right. I finished it with a few little ornaments and it can be easily leaned against a wall on the mantle. I am excited to anticipate the little one looking in the bags each morning to find her treat.Girl Child's sweetie is thousands of miles away. She hasn't seen him in a month and will next see him on December 24th. She wanted to make a countdown calendar for him. She stamped wedding favor boxes with the dates and then filled each box with truffles, santas, snowmen and a few more grown up treats such as miniature chocolate liqueurs. In each box she wrote a little note folded and closed with a tiny clothes peg. We had so much fin making these. There are so many ways to create a personalized advent. And far better than those horrible waxy chocolates in the grocery store advents.[...]

Florida Sunroom


Encaustic cement tile floor, made in Mexico. Movarian star light fixtures, second hand Moroccan rugs. The doors at the far end were purchased long before construction started and the room was designed to fit them. They came from India and are apparently over 100 years old.Three years ago, we bought a vacation home in Florida. We are hoping to one day spend the winters here, but for now we try to go every couple of months when work schedules permit. As Canadians, we are allowed to spend 6 months a year in the USA, so the long term plan is winter in Florida and summer in Canada. Which means we want the Florida house to be well suited to hosting our family who also want to escape the Winters.The house had a screened porch with a leaky tin roof, no access to outside, and was basically unusable, except for bicycle and junk storage. Because the house has just 2 bedrooms, when both kids, DIL and baby visit, someone has to sleep on the sofa. My intent was to build a sunroom and bathroom that could double as a spare bedroom when we had guests. The room is long and narrow. 2 Palette beds flank the one wall, providing comfy sleeping for 2 guests, as well as a long, loungey area for reading and for napping. One end has a large old desk, and the far end houses the bathroom.Here the beds are dressed in Kantha type quilts made in India. Patio doors lead out to deck and pool. Goose neck sconces provide extra light. The fireplace came from a house in New Orleans. I had it tiled in cream handmade Mexican tile. Tile from Mexico sometimes has a paw print in it. Laid out in the run to dry, dogs and chickens sometimes leave a print in the wet clay. One of these pieces had a paw print. I told the tiler to make sure he used it in the middle. He misunderstood and cut out the print and used the tile on the corner :(.  Peacock Mirror weighs a ton..The Raz Man was not happy hanging that..So now we have a "guest room/sun room". Perfect timing because another Grand Baby is on the way![...]

New Painting


I've been painting on large canvas...much more suited to my large, sloppy strokes.

Newest Painting


I've been totally frustrated with weeks of painting and no results that I consider worth keeping. I love so many types of art, and I think I have tried just about all styles from charcoal drawing to abstract painting. The good news is you can paint over canvases that you mess up on.

For this painting, I was inspired by my obsession with artist Bernard Lorjou, my love of fabric and prints, the blog Small Acorns and the aesthetic of Amanda, and by the talented designer Anna Spiro. Anna is the Australian designer famous for her clever mix of prints and colors. This painting was inspired by her Round & Round the  Garden wallpaper for Porter Paints. I loved that wallpaper from the minute I laid eyes on it. I mixed it up with an icat tablecloth and a spotted vase. The spots are actually raised and I stencilled them on with a molding paste first. I couldn't catch the dimension in the photo, but they stand out nicely.

I am most attracted to flowers to paint. I love pottery and vintage and ethnic fabrics, so I am enjoying this style of painting. I have come across the art of Bernard Lorjou, a French painter born in 1908. He was really quite ahead of his time. One of my favorites is below.


Bits and Bobs


These are not porn stars...I practicing nudes for art class

Tree Cozy

Building a room around these doors.

Sunoco gas bar. Pick up a coke, gum or a stun gun
I drawing bodies for art class. Lucky for me as I hate sketching clothes, drawing nudes is a great way to practice drawing.  I do lack a model, so I'm using my imagination. The second girl clearly has fake boobs and a scary eye, but the first one is making eye contact. One thing I can't draw is hands, so I just left them out.

We're building a  sunroom in Florida. Nothing started yet, but the entire addition is going to be worked around these 100 year old Indian doors. Contractors going to love me.
If you are ever in St. Petersburg, take a gander through the Dali museum of course, but then wander up Central Avenue to explore what the art community has been up to.
Our trees in Canada could have used sweaters this Winter.

While you're paying for your gas, pick up a coke or a stun gun...they work! 

A birthday in the house.


Henry Francis and I share a birthday. 
I've been Nannie-sitting him this week and Girl Child asked me if I could snap a birthday photo of him in a party hat (for the album you know).

A boy hat was not to be found around the house, but I did have a Cinderella crown. Which made him feel very silly, but totally adorable.

Of course he tried to lick the cake when he blew out the candles.

Painting a day


I read that you have to paint 120 paintings before you get any good. I've given myself a challenge to paint a painting a day for 30 days. 

Over the past few days I've been practicing with not much success. After reading a lot on the matter, I pared down my efforts for simpler subject matter and have taken the time to sketch them first with simple drawings showing the light values. The tulips turned out OK, but this is after I scraped the paint off the flowers twice. Daily routine. Sketch. Shade. Paint.

Artist Wannabe



Once in a while someone will the question at a party (usually after a bit of liquor) about what your dream job would be. I was asked it recently, and since then I've given it lots of thought lately because I'm dead bored of selling rugs and furniture and even the decorating side of my business if dulling me out. The truth is I've always wanted to paint. I not a good technical drawer so abstract and impressionist painting strikes my fancy. 

I found an art course that wasn't sold out, but the problem was it was for Level 2...not beginners, do I guess I have to fake it. Off I went to the art shop, pretending I knew what I needed and though together a basic painting kit. I've done color theory classes so know how to mix colours from primary blue, red and yellow, as well as white and black. The first painting one was a disaster. Part way through it looked really good, then I did what I've come to realise is my fatal flaw. I keep going and going until the paint is as thick as butter cream. My second try was a wee bit better, but again, I used far too much paint.

Yesterday, I watched a few You-Tube tutorials and ended up with my first piece that I actually like. It probably could use a few finishing touches, but I've left it well enough alone because I don't want to over do it.  

Tomorrow I start my lessons and I plan to post my classwork and any pieces I do at home.



Unknown- March 11, 2014

Best friend of Gracie
Thought she was a dog
Best Cat Ever
Loved greatly by our family

New stock in Shop


I've spent the past week photographing new stock of Sno of Sweden jewelry. The latest trend is a big stack of bracelets on the arm. I love experimenting with all the pieces to find interesting ways to wear them. Personally, I prefer them worn in color matched groups. A cluster of snowy white pearls, beads and silver bracelets look amazing with a soft winter white sweater. Or a dark, smoky grey collection to add sparkle to your dark winter grey and black clothes.

Right now I am offering Free Shipping plus 20% off all stock until the end of January. Use coupon code JANUARY.  Here is the link to my website

Late start


Christmas Breakfast TableSofa and chair in Tampa cafepretty light fixturefun rideAll you really needCompany for dinner brought wine and an old school flamingoWhen in St. Petersburg, try Mazzaro's for lunchA late start to the blog I know....Christmas and New Years at home, our first without boy child. We braved that well, knowing we would all be together with the baby for new years and then a full week in Florida with the whole gang. The cool weather in Florida didn't dampen our spirits and we delighted in watching 9 month old Emma take her first dip in a swimming pool, as well as having a full week of baby time, snuggles and smiles. Baby proved to be an A-1 flyer despite being in 4 airports in 4 hours instead of 2. We were happily enjoyed a lovely dinner  and nighttime swims while Girl Child fell victim to the Polar Vortex and was held captive at the Toronto Airport, first on the runway, then in the baggage claims, where one could feel somewhat relieved that several plane loads luggage never came, not just yours.Ybor City in Tampa proved to be a fabulous spot to get a feel of the Latin Quarter of Tampa, Even though a man made a hand gesture of a gun shooting at me, I enjoyed my visit there. A family walk at Lettuce Lake Park disappointed the alligator hunters of the group, the scenery was beautiful. A dead dolphin on the beach saddened us during our walk as the boys had kite boarding lessons.Our Florida neighbors met our kids and grand baby, all of whom we love to show off. We're proud of our kids! A few dinners and drinks with neighbors have kept things lively between bike rides along Coffee Pot Bayou and walks around town.Our hopes were dashed for a sale of a property we hoped to sell, and my plans for a sun room addition in Florida are on hold once again.Still obsessed with the housing market in St. Petersburg and wish I had money to invest. I walk the neighborhood and love the historic old homes and gorgeous tropical gardens. Still great bargains for those wishing 260 days of sunshine a year.2014 goals are simple.paint the rooms in the house that have needed painting for 8 morespend lessinvite more people to visit us in Floridasee a couple of showswalk morebicycle moreyogatake more photosbuy a kayakknit somethingpool at nightHenry Franics by firebakingfamily loveLettuce Lake Park, TampaYbor City Tampa[...]

Sno of Sweden Holiday Jewelry Sale


If you are looking for Christmas gifts, I have just added a TON of new stock to my Sno of Sweden jewelry online collection. Living very close to the Sno sales headquarters in Canada allows me to make frequent buying trips and hand select the items I wish to put in the shop. To make room for the new stock, I have marked down many items and am also offering an additional 10% off all orders. Every items comes in a sating drawstring bag, boxed and tied with pink stain ribbons. FREE SHIPPING in Canada and USA.  To see the whole Sno of Sweden collection click HERE. Use the coupon code HOLIDAY.



I have searched a long time to find the right table for my front hallway. It proved to be quite elusive. I have tried no less than 8 tables since I've lived here. Some too small, some too large, wide, formal etc. I think I've found the right one at last. My house is tiny and the hallway quite dark and cramped. I bought this new, but old looking saw horse table, and it fits nicely into the space, still allowing just enough space for Sweet Mama's wheelchair to pass through. Smack in the middle of this wall is the door bell box and a light switch, making it impossible to hang most mirrors. I found this tall, skinny mirror in a second hand shop and it worked really well there. I balanced the space with a pair of photographic prints of Cuba and a pair of found antlers. Baskets are a must n this house to store boots and shoes, dog leashes, dog toys etc. These came from Home Sense and work well to contain the "stuff".  I have removed all the carpet on my stairs and, given I have an old cat and dog, I opted NOT to re-carpet or fork out for new wooden stairs, opting instead to sand the old builder grade stairs and paint them with White porch paint. It's looking much cleaner and fresher and the costs is $40.00 for the paint plus my time. 

Speaking of the house being small....the dining room is very narrow and with a large cabinet and table and chairs, it becomes a frustrating squish into the room when entertaining. We moved the cabinet to the other side and have pushed the table over to the right. The plan is to add banquette seating on the wall under the blackboard so 3 or 4 people can sit on that side, giving ample room to walk about the room. The bench design is in the works. I don't have a drawing yet, but it will be tufted and it will be PINK.

An Elephant on a stool


I went to the circus with my kids when they were little. Being so young and unaware of the real habitat of the gracious animals, they loved it. It almost brought me to tears. There is nothing sadder than an elephant sitting on a stool. I vowed that I would never take my children to see captive elephants EVER again. Or tigers, or whales.....the list goes on. My children gained NOTHING of importance from seeing those circus elephants, except perhaps in hindsight they will look back and regret seeing such beauty in such an awful circumstance.

I was born in Kenya. We saw elephants in the wild. Once we were travelling by car to Mombassa and there were elephant on the road. With lights out and fearful quiet, we waited until they passed, respectful and fearful of these powerful animals in the wild. 

I am proud to announce that Toronto no longer has elephants. That's right. The 3 remaining elephants from the Toronto Zoo left Toronto last Thursday for a 4200 KM journey on a flat bed truck to the PAWS sanctuary in California. After years of planning, debate and training the elephants to get in and out of the huge crates they would later be trucked in.

The convoy arrived yesterday evening safely in California, greeted by Bob Barker who funded their journey. They will spend the rest of their days freely roaming the 2500 acre sanctuary with other elephants. 

The controversy over captive elephants is not a new one and slowly elephants are being removed from the world's zoos and finding refuge in a sanctuary.  If you want to watch a documentary about freeing elephants there is a fabulous one HERE

I hope that elephants in zoos and circuses are going to be a thing of the past. While our children may not ever see a live elephant, they will grow up learning that these beautiful animals live in far away lands and be able to learn about them from video, not seeing them parade in a circus or zoo.

A King's Feast


Henry Francis on the mysterious King's Chair, Bronte Ontario

Henry Francis in his new Camo print harness.

It was Thanksgiving here in Canada yesterday. Best of all the kids were here, including those from Montreal with our sweet grand daughter Emma. What joy she brings the entire family. She's at the stage of Peek-a-boo and other little games that make her laugh.

We celebrated with Sweet Mamma, now recovered from her hospital emergency, and the rest of family over a feast of ham and turkey with all the trimmings. I've given up on cooking a whole turkey, instead I get a double turkey breast pre-stuffed from the butcher. So much easier than a whole bird. My sister also does ALL the veg and potatoes and brings them pre cooked and mashed and ready to heat up. I can't tell you how much easier this makes preparing a feast. I also farmed out desert so my work load was minimal. 

Frenchie, our Lab rescue has adjusted to the crazy puppy-ness of Henry Francis, who is such a sweet boy and this weekend hinted at liking the boisterous little King
We posed Henry Francis on the King's Chair-a chair mysteriously carved in the forest along the walking path.

I think we all felt like Kings and Queens this weekend with all the blessings we shared this Thanksgiving.

Adios Florida. Adios Raccoons.


On Central Ave. Pet portraits on wallMy Brother In Law built us these lovely shelves. The handle of my bag made with a Thai sashThe bag is made from a vintage textile...piece of a traditional baby carrier. From Etsy.The light fixture was an anniversary (28 years) gift from the Raz Man. We call it the Maharaja's Lamp. Because of the proximity to the pool (and a cement block house) we had to mount it with no electrical. We plan to convert it with an LED light.Add captionWe left Florida on Wednesday. Saying goodbye to our friends, house and garden is always a sad moment for me. I have come to love it so much there and count the days until we return. This time we battled raccoons swimming in the pool.  We caught the pack having a swim on our security camera. And they don't just swim in there. We had to close the pool twice for 24 hours, backwash it, super chlorinate it and change the filter ($85.00). We ended up hiring a critter control trapper and caught 2 babies who were relocated. For the next 8 days there was no sign of the rest of them. Raccoons carry parasites in their poop that is very dangerous. You can read the CDC info HERE on how serious this is. We also did a lot of research and discovered that a raccoon will not jump into water, they walk in. After 3 days of creative thinking we made a barrier for the steps that covers the entry. It easily snaps off and on for night time use. If you have a similar problem, email me and I will tell you how we made it. The Raccoon Blocker Net is pictured below.We arrived home with 2 ours to spare before my Sweet Mamma had emergency surgery. Warned again by the doctors on how fragile she is, she once again sailed through it with no complications. One day I will tell the story of how we were told she was brain dead, only to have her come out of her coma and talk like the Queen. Thank God for the timing of the surgery. I would have hated not to be there for her.Wishing you all a good weekend whether restful or adventurous.Racoon Blocker NetAttaches to pool deck to safety net anchors. Covered in double layered mesh to prevent potential poop dropping through. We secured the mesh with plastic grommets because we did not have a swing machine. You could also sew a mesh sleeve and slip it on.  Plastic coated metal grid (closet shelving) 15" wide covers the first and partially the second step and all of the first, so raccoons cannot step into the water.[...]

The Florida Garden....Making Progress


Quan Yin...Goddess of MercyGarden bench, once ready for the trash, now restored by a good neighborPink Siam tulips in foreground. Crotons, Pygmy date palm and fernsView from the shade garden to the poolUnder the Pony Tail palmCranum Lily and Bromeliads (they store 1 litre of water in their " tank")We used the antique brick that formed the old patop for the pathway.False bird of paradiseQuan Yin...perfectly aged statue from second hand storeChinese Yellow Bamboo in foregroundThe gorgeous orangey pink stems of the Bottle Palm.Behind the hot tub I planted Lily of the Nile (not in bloom) false bird of paradise and crotonsSucculents in large pots.A spot to sit beside  the bamboo, philodendrons and Cranum Lily.My 3rd attempt to plant the Florida garden has yielded results I am pleased with. In the beginning I filled my cart at Home Depot with so many varieties of small plants, I had a mediocre strip of plants with mostly the same type of leaf and texture. It looked too varied and lacked cohesion. I discovered that just like decorating a house, you need a couple of really good pieces and then can build from there with less importants. I wanted the garden to have an old, established feel so the new pool area would blend with the old, historical part of the garden. I have split, moved, and moved again, dozens of plants. I removed 3 Tavellers Palms that were to large for the small (30 inch) strip by the pool. I invested in 2 large Bottle Palms and a couple of  massive Cranum Lillies, and filled the back with Chinese yellow Bamboo and the front with Philodendron, Ferns and false Bird of Paradise. If I was to move the camera a foot higher, you would see the top 2 feet of the rotten fence and the windows and stucco side of my neighbors house. With a bit of manipulation I can block that out. Eventually, the bamboo with provide a wall of greenery to block the view. I have foraged in neighbors gardens and accepted gifts of Elephant Ears, peace lily and Bromeliads. And anything that sneaks over to my side from the spooky vacant house next door finds a new home over here.After searching for a statue to replace my elephant statue that was taken from the yard, I found a beautiful old Quan Yin to bless us with her calming presence. She came from Janet's Antiques on Central Avenue, St. Petersburg. By far my favorite haunt for lovely old things.[...]

Monday Night Real Estate.....Santa Fe, New Mexico


Adobe dwelling. Cobblestone walkway and gorgeous iron lanterns. The front door is fabulous.Tonight's Real Estate adventure takes us to New Mexico. I've never been to the desert, except for Vegas, but I really would love to plan a trip to New Mexico on of these days. There's something very primitive about the desert, and I think it would be exhilarating to get out of the City and stay in the outskirts with cacti and mountains for companions. I came across this amazing house. It epitomizes the feel and look of the American Southwest. Built in 1999, it is built with great thought to the surroundings and respect for the style. This home also serves as a museum. The listing describes it as follows "Rolling across 175 acres of quintessentially SW ranch land near the crest of a hill, with the Ortiz Mtns as a stalwart backdrop, the centerpiece of the ranch is a 13,395+\-sqft residence including a chapel; a torreon with rooftop deck; guest and caretakers quarters; a courtyard with cantina; and patio, pavilion, and portal beside a breathtaking infinity-edge pool. Not far off is a private 4-bedroom guesthouse and equestrian facilities that include several pastures, 12 stables, a barn, an arena for roping and cutting. The dramatic boveda ceiling reemerges in the kitchen. This dramaticall...y unparalleled space includes custom light fixtures of goatskin and wrought iron above a copper-topped breakfast bar. The distinctive cabinetry, carved by Jose and Constantino Jaramillo, features a decorative flourish based on the work of Russian artist Nicolai Fechin, who carved the doors, window frames, pillars, and furniture of his home, now the Taos Art Museum"  You can see the complete listing HEREMy favorite photo. I love the repetition of the lanterns and the wrought iron railing. Note the floors in flagstone and the gorgeous thick doors.The same flagstone is carried to the outside pool area. Imaging lounging by this pool looking at the mountains.I would LOVE to examine this room in person...Note the chairs and the ceiling.Again the repetition of the ceiling lights and the furniture along the walls, combined with the barrel brick ceiling are so authentic. It could have been built 100 years ago, not 199.This is the most spectacular view of the house. Nestled at the foot of the mountains, the drive up alone would take your breath away.I love the copper vent hood and also those bar stools.As much as I love to look at these million $ ($12,000.000) in the above instance, I always wonder what the average person can afford in a city. I am not sure what the economy is based on in New Mexico, but there are pages and pages of homes over $1 million to look at. Next is something affordable for the average person. This charming little condo was built in 1930 and exudes the charm of both the desert and the era. The listing describes it like this"Darling, old-world pied a terre near downtown. The Larribas Compound dates back to the 1930's, and was modernized in the 1990's. This quaint, private and secure Compound offers mature landscaping, private patio's for the units as well as limited common amenities such as banco's, fountains, ramada's, etc. This 1 bedroom, 1 bath unit features wide plank wood floors and tile, a large, central kiva fireplace, skylights, W/D and private patios. The construction is adobe, with original divided light windows and french doors. It is as sweet, and charming as one can find in Santa Fe" You can see the entire listing HERE.No Boys, that is NOT a urinal.I would change the seats to white [...]

Huge Vintage Sale/Garage Sale Saturday August 24th, 2013


 For anyone in the Oakville, Ontario area tomorrow, we are holding a HUGE sale of vintage items, garage sale treasures and flea market finds. We even have some Dash and Alebrt rugs.  You can find us at2421 Applewood DriveOakville, Ontario 8 am until the goods are gone.[...]

Monday Night Real Estate - Affordable Palm Beach Houses


No one at the pool today...often the case at condosLimestone walls and arched doorwaysLoggia with brick flooringA gorgeous shot of the pool area and Old Florida vegetationBuilt in 1925, this building is very striking.Moroccan inspirationI think they need to update the photos....A peak into the insideLovely view of the poolLast week I should you what big money can buy in Palm Beach. This week, I wanted to see what the Average Joe could buy in Palm Beach. I looked in the under $250,000 range which may or may not be average at all, depending on what part of the country or world you live in. The home above, is a condo. Built in 1925 and right on the water, this gorgeous building has oodles of charm. The Listing can be found HERE, but it only has 2 photos of the inside. Living in a beautiful old building like this would be fantastic though. You could make a very cozy apartment inside and enjoy the spacious lobby and pool area. It's quite a bargain at $110,000 for a 1 bed, 2 bath. The catch is the HOA (condo) are $1338.00 per month. It is Palm Beach after all. HERE is another unit in this building if yo want to see inside. For $250,000 you can buy a condo at the Palm Beach Hotel, a condominium apartment built in the 1920's also. This one is furnished...a great rental income property. Loaded with charm, this would be a great spot to retire!A gorgeous hotel/condo-The Palm Beach HotelSome pretty details....the beam is lovelyAnd the fireplace is beautiful...such a pretty condo.There's not a lot in Palm Beach for the average home buyer other than condos, but there are some very interesting choices for buildings in the area.[...]

Pool Garden....A Before and after tour of an Old Florida Style Garden


Before of M's Florida pool gardenAnother before shot...fence is now installed 2010Have you ever done a home reno or purchased something major for your home, been quite content with it, and then soon after spotted something that made you totally regret your decision? For me, it was our Florida pool. Swimming pools in most yards I have seen were very pretty, with cement coping and brick or concrete pool decks. When we built the Florida pool we promised ourselves we would stick with the budget which included a brick paver pool deck and choice of pool builder tiles. To be honest I wasn't keen on any of the choices, but also I wasn't too keen on the upgrades offered such as limestone which looked too new and polished. In the end I went with a hex block style paver in a mixed peach and pewter color. Originally we chose a peach brick bullnose coping (you can see the pool HERE) but someone screwed up and we ended up with the mixed stone all over. I was Ok with it all, but it wasn't the Old Florida look I had in mind. I couldn't exactly pin it down until July when I went to a neighborhood party and walked into this back yard. M built this pool in 2010. She contracted it herself and moved over 250 wheelbarrows of dirt herself. The tile was vintage tile she had lugged from house to house over the years knowing she was going to find a use for it. Her pool deck is made of coquina....a fossilized limestone native to Florida and harvested nearby. The second I saw this yard, I had instant regret. Regret for not researching my options better and with the whole look of my pool. for the first 20 minutes of the party I kept saying to The Raz Man...."OMG, I wish I had seen this before"....hindsight is 20/20 as they say. I still love my pool, and instead of having too much remorse, I studied carefully this yard and devised a plan for making my pool yard look somewhat like this. Here are lots of photos of M's pool and yard. This was built only 3 years ago. Things grow fast in Florida. It wasn't just the pool, it was the whole feel of the yard and house. This is in St. Petersburg. It looks like it Key West in the 1930's. This is all her design and talent and hardwork. She planted this garden. I hope you enjoy this tour. All photos with permission to use from M. The finished pool and garden.Outdoor shower...note the shower headCoquina pool deckHandmale tilesHippies use back doorBeautiful...YES![...]

Monday Night House Shopping. Spanish Colonial Revival Real Estate in Palm Beach .


Likely the original color of stucco..Pink stucco with turquoise trim was very common in the 20's and 30'sHerringbone brick patten in fireplace...delicious green painted surround. I love the half baked plant on the mantle..Details of fireplace.Pecky Cyprus ceiling beams with original stenciling and paint.Limestone walls and stairs. Note the arches and columns. I do love this hallway. I try to imagine how I would decorate it. Mizner was a genius with the use of materials.Iron ceiling pendant...looks original to house. Note the painted ceiling.Beautiful carvings.  This house is historically significant.Maybe this is the staff kitchen. It needs a little curtain under the sink. That wall of green cabinets is fabulous. I hope that is salvaged if and when it is renovated.The dining room ceiling. Plaster rosettes and medallions. the painted ceiling and corbel details.Today I have more real estate for you. Again, Spanish Colonial and again in Palm Beach where some of the finest examples of Spanish Revival architecture started in Florida and remain today. This house is another Addison Mizner home built in 1925. The LISTING HERE describes it as follows:"Addison Mizner HouseAddison Mizner's''Costa Bella'' retains all of its original details.Grand Ballroom with stenciled pecky cypress ceiling. Large Dining Salon, 2 fireplaces and fabulous plaster ceiling. Reception Room and Massive Stone Stair Hall. 8 Bedrooms with Ocean Views plus 1 staff bedrooms and 1 Bath. 3 Garages and Full Basement."For almost 9 million I thought the kitchen would be grand and full of Ogee'd granite and an excessive stove, however this one appears original and to me....beautiful. I just wish someone with 9 million doesn't have an extra 300 grand to ruin it. It does need an update though.Next is a home built in 1927...$7,800,000.00. I not usually a fan of mansions, but his one has such appeal to me because it is authentically updated and looks well lived in. I like humble kitchens, and this one is not too grand. You can view the entire listing HERE. It is described in the listing as follows." This charming Mediterranean residence is located on desirable Clarke Avenue. Situated on a large lot in town the property has both a formal entrance on Clarke Avenue and a service entrance off the private back alley way. The home offers 6,094 total square feet with 4 bedrooms, 4 baths in the main house and 3 bedrooms, 3 baths in the guest/pool house. Exquisite features include pecky cypress ceilings, wood and Mexican tile floorings, a large fireplace in the living room, French doors that open to the terrace and pool, an eat-in kitchen and much more."Classic white stucco, barrel tiled roof and delightful arches. I suspect that this tiled area right of the pillars was once a loggia, (covered gallery or corridor open to the air on one side) Many houses from this era has loggias that led to other areas of the house and allowed the house to be cooled. With the arrival of air conditioning, many of these loggias were enclosed and incorporated into the house.Gorgeous furniture well suited to the house.Fresh and pretty. Grand enough for the house but not over the topAnother humble kitchen with gorgeous Spanish tiled floor.Again, a well designed and not over the top poolSpanish tiled floor with diamond insert and limestone moldings.Back to back sitting areas create a more intimate space.The family room.  Now I know whose houses thos[...]

Palm Beach Real Estate


Of interest are the stepped windows on the staircase with columns, the arched windows, Barrel tiled roof, the covered loggia with what looks like pecky Cyprus columns.The quilted tile floor and open wood ceiling....gorgeousI would give this house a more old world Spanish look if it was mine.More of a British Colonial look than I would expect.Private Beach of course...Simple with it's white stucco and pretty windows.As beautiful now as when it was builtTo indulge my taste for Spanish Revival houses, I like to peruse online real estate. Palm Beach in the early 1900's was "The" place for Spanish architecture in Florida. Addison Mizner is one of my favorite architects of this era. If you have a cool 22 Million, you can purchase this home of historical significance. Only if you promise not to alter an of the original details though.......It is listed HERE with Sotheby's. Here's how the house is described in the listing.Mizner's Louwana Oceanfront MasterpieceQuite possibly the most romantic period oceanfront mansion available in Palm Beach today, held by the same family since it's design by Addison Mizner in 1919. One of the last Great Houses of Palm Beach, a legend of architectural and historic significance. This majestically picturesque 10-bedroom villa sprawls over 1.5 acres featuring 150 feet of idyllic direct private beachfront. Exquisitely preserved in museum condition. Pool, Tennis Court, Beach Cabana. An exceedingly important and rare offering.If that house is too rich for your blood, check out this charming 1926 property on the market for $2,749,000.00. The listing found HERE describes it as follows. "Phipps Plaza Mediterranean style two story home designed by famed architect, Marion Sims Wyeth featuring 3BR/3.5BA, fireplace, elevator, striking high ceilings, spacious eat in kitchen." And....if you want to see the most expensive real estate listing in Palm Beach, this is it $59,000,000.00 Home.[...]