Saturday, July 23, 2011

Extreme Antiquing

Ever since I saw Artie's post on daybeds, it got me thinking.  My middle bedroom has always been one of those rooms you leave off the home tour.   I'll bet a lot of you have one too.  I've been thinking I should change that.  I've always called the room my "studio" but I haven't done any painting or used the large desk I set up since I moved into the house.  It's really a wasted room.  

When my mom and sister-in-law visited, I slept on the floor in the dining room.  

Of course, the cats thought the bed was for them.

If I had a daybed in this middle bedroom, the room could be another dual-duty room.  It could be a second guest room or a private den for a guest since it's attached to the other bedrooms.  A guest den.  Since the upstairs is always warmer than downstairs, this also might be a place I hang out in the winter.  A winter lounge.

It might seem odd that these three bedrooms are all connected but if you've been following for a while, you'll remember that my house was a two-family about the turn of the century.  (1900, not 2000)  The front door to the upstairs apartment was the door to the guest room (seen in the distance).  The master bedroom we're standing in was the kitchen.  Eventually I'll add a door to the middle bedroom from a hallway (where the rag rug runner is) but I'm having a hard time with the idea of closing up all the rooms.  I really enjoy the openness of the space.

On Thursday I thought I'd escape the heat of the city and head up to Maine to see if I could find a daybed for my new den.  I pulled over on Memorial Drive in Cambridge so you could see the hazy view of Boston across the Charles River.  During the 1600s, the marshes along the banks of the Charles were plentiful oyster beds.  During the Revolutionary War, George Washington's fort not far from this spot provided protection from the British.

Today, these banks provide spectacular views of the Boston skyline.  The gold-domed State House sits at the top of Beacon Hill.  I wonder if it's cooler in those sailboats?

I've driven by this spot hundreds, perhaps, thousands of times and I'd never noticed this intricate wrought iron work on the MIT Sailing Pavilion.  How cool is that?

But let's hit the road.

It was 97 degrees outside Withington Antiques in York.  Withington's antiques are usually a little too fancy for my humble house but it's always nice to poke around.  I was expecting the store to be a respite from the heat but I was wrong.  The heat slapped me across the face when I walked in the door.  The place was like an oven, at least 120 degrees inside.  No joke.

This isn't going to be a leisurely shopping day.  This is EXTREME ANTIQUING. 

I love these old signs but they've all gotten so expensive. 

I nice collection of mercury glass.  I'm not sure if I like it or not but it's pretty to look at.

You could cook an egg on this table.

I buzzed up to Snug Harbor Farm... pick up a perfectly aged terracotta pot for one of my topiaries.

I want some hydrangea for the front and along the side of the house.  I like these.

And, as always, I had to check out the topiaries.  Notice the yellow-green ones in front and big red ones in back are coleus.  Did you know you can make a topiary out of coleus?

I also stopped by Corey Daniels Gallery to see Tim Wilson's show. 

I really like his work.  And it's perfectly framed in vintage chippy molding.

Don't they feel like the have a history?

But on to the next steamy place to find something for my new guest den.

Check out these turquioise Chinese pots.  They remind of the ones in Joan's bedroom.  Sorry.  Not telling where they are.  I might have to go back and get them.  I like the blue and white ones in the back too.

I've found a few good anchor pieces for my new guest room/lounge so I'm going to whimp out and head back to Boston in the comfort of my car.


  1. Dear Mr. Extreme:

    Very intriguing...all of it! I really miss living near such history. The places you took us to were wonderful. The "witness protection program" art is quite fascinating in itself!

    Thank you.


  2. dear hot one,

    i think one of the best things i've gotten out of blogging is seeing things that i never noticed before like the gate thing you photographed. blogging has taught me to look at everything with a different eye.

    topiary coleus are pretty popular here too.

    thanks for the tour and the history lesson. i hope it cools off soon for you.

  3. What a tour!!!!

    Check out my new kitchen; let me know what you think about the island.


  4. Why close up your rooms, Steve? They're lovely as they are--and the airiness is quite beautiful. In the winter we, too, live mostly on the second floor--a place we've only run through quickly this past week, it's so hot up there.

    Your cottage has such serenity.

  5. That is extreme. The heat is crazy, isn't it! You are a diehard. Love the look of those places. I need to go there on a cool day. I'm telling you , if the price wasn't so high on that glass jar I would have picked it up for you. Perfect gor the kitchen. Anway way, love the history lesson in this post.

  6. Wow! Thanks for the fantastic day trip! I didn't even have to leave the comfort of my air-conditioned home! :D
    But now I want a topiary!
    and you are spare "art" room is actually a catch-all for art supplies, books, etc. and a place for the cats to lounge!
    By the way, I think I might have found the "wallpaper" for my closet online today. I have the little cabinet and all I need are the vintage suitcases! :D
    Love this post!
    Thanks, Cindi

  7. I have been thinking about doing a daybed in my office/den/library. That first place had me at those cement pots...loved the hanging baskets full of a variety of ferns and other things too. I've done topiaries out of rosemary in the past...only to see them die when the weather cools. I'd really like one inside that would last. I'm sure whatever you do with your middle bedroom will be fabulous.

  8. Oh, I am so jealous you have such great shops. There is so little here, it is sad. Love your idea for a winter lounge. Your house is so interesting, in so many ways. Love the kitties on the bed. And those turquoise pots...

    It was 68F here today. Lovely...

    xo Terri

  9. I enjoyed that shopping trip with you, great photos and you have wonderful taste.. love those, all green, hanging baskets x

  10. I've been in Maine all week and the heat has been crazy! My sister witnessed a shoving match on the beach for a shady spot on Thursday!

    I like the idea of a lounge and I think a daybed is perfect! Now about those vases . . . where did you say you saw them . . .

  11. Anyone who ventures out in this heat is a hero to all of us. And to go antiquing? Extra points.

    I have no spare room, I barely have any room, but when I did I had an old iron bed I used as a day bed.

    I had to have foam cut to fit for a mattress, it was such an odd size, I had a cover made with white canvas and white red piping, then masses of pillows in different sizes and red and white patters.

    I sold it at a yard sale to someone who turns out to be a customer at the shop and still uses it and loves it.

    Short story long.

    Your pot was much shorter and much more interesting. brain damage from the heat.

    xoxo Jane

  12. I would so love to visit Boston. I'm glad you had some success with your Extreme Antiquing!

  13. I enjoyed this post Steve. I was dropping my step son off to the MIT summer camp two weeks ago and if they pass a certain level they can go sailing! I'll have to look for that iron work. I loved the outdoor cement pieces, especially the flower basket. I almost brought home a cement Pekinese dog from a NH antique shop (looked like my shih tzu) but he had a broken foot and ear and they wouldn't discount it. Ah well, it is the thrill of the hunt. By the way, I did see a very old wooden day bed frame when I was out shopping. I am sure it is not expensive, but it seemed rather delicate. I can send you a pic if you like.

  14. It's so funny you should mention Snug Harbor Farm. My sister-in- law was just there on Friday admiring all the terracotta pots with the gorgeous topiaries in them. I wouldn't want to put up doors either. I really love how your upstairs flows. Can't wait to see what you purchased on your short, hot jaunt to Maine.

  15. another lovely day trip...thanks for taking us along!

    So no luck with the daybed? Darnit, I guess you'll just have to go another trip...hopefully it won't be so hot.

    I'm jealous of the flower shops you find. Ours are all so commercial looking - not nearly as quiant.

    Keep cool!

  16. you silly boy- didn't you see that Maine was HOT too?!! I've been inside with the AC unless I have to go out and water my new plantings... looks like a break starting today, thank goodness!
    Wish I had known you were going to Withington's- you could have picked up the barn coffee table. When we bought it we had the small car and it wouldn't fit and haven't been back since. And you will NOT believe this, but I bought a green ginger jar just like the ones in the picture (and I "do" know where you are:) You do not want to know what I paid;)
    I love the idea of leaving the room open- good flow!
    Wishing you a "cool" Sunday!!


  17. oh how i miss boston... and the charles river! and the drive to maine.... aaahhh you have just made my day with your wonderful post... thank you! pam

  18. What a lovely post--both words and pictures.

  19. Hi Steve, I get so jealous of you with all of those wonderful antique stores.

    I like the daybed idea too. Daybeds can be tough to find and most of the new ones are really ugly. How about antique faux bamboo?

    Stay cool...xo kelley

  20. perhaps for the very first time i enjoyed "antiquing" from my home versus being int the abominable heat.
    i love your eye so to speak, great images

  21. What a nice trip out you've taken me on, and such tempting things to buy. It's a good job that I live far too far away to come shopping with you!

  22. Brave Wanderer! I passed up antiquing in Essex today.. don't know why. Maybe the knees.

    Ever been to Putnam in Connecticut?

  23. It was fun to go along on your trip! It is really HOT in the Midwest, too. Awful. I am making your Tabouli for the second time! Love it. Great summer side or lunch (maybe dinner when it's this hot!).

  24. I know what you mean about the antique stores, but I think they are closely watching overhead costs or they would go out of business! So many already have. Loved the tour. And I love the soft blue colour on the walls of your studio. What about a sofa bed? Then you could use it as a sitting room and open it up for sleep. I know it's not "antique" but you could get a small traditionally english-shaped one. ??

  25. It was hot. I went into a few places but couldn't handle poking around for the heck of it. Love the photos!

  26. I want to go shopping with know where all the best places are!!! I wish I had room for a daybed....I have always wanted one!! Have a great week!!

  27. Love your finds. You must a real diehard to brave that heat! We are more equipped here in Texas. A/C everywhere...thankfully, since we have those temps about 5 months a year!

  28. I did not realize you had a mean streak.....not telling us where those lovely urns are...will have to get CSI on it...maybe enlarging those tags and putting it on my blog for everyone to see. Teach you a lesson about sharing.

  29. need to get to work. I can't believe you have that cute abandoned room! It's the perfect guest den! And to curl up there on snowy winter Mass. good...get to work!

  30. I'm a big fan of pocket doors. You have more options for furniture placement and picture hanging. You would also be able to maintain the open flow you like, but slide the doors when that suits.