"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Friday, August 29, 2014

Brora Love

Brora Textured Tweed Pea Coat
Every autumn Brora releases another gorgeous line of coats.  This year is no exception with the latest tweed coat in a pea coat silhouette.  In a classic delft blue with a modern cut, perfect over skinny pants and boots, I love it!
Have a closer look at the tweed and the tailoring details, and don't forget to take special notice of the cotton Liberty lining, I always love to see which pattern has been placed with the new wool or tweed.
Be well Tooties,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Powder Room

The new wallpaper and crown moulding.
 We have started the renovation process with a complete overhaul of our main floor powder room.  We really began before our trip to England, work was happening while we were away and then finished up a couple of weeks after our return.
It was a huge mess because we gutted the entire room, there were cabinets that were built in the 1950's which were quite blocky and awkward.  Even though they provided some storage the cramping of the space was really getting on my nerves.  I've realized that while our house is certainly big enough the rooms themselves have a certain scale in keeping with a 1915 house... the rooms aren't huge though there is a certain drama to them with high ceilings and period details.  They are definitely big enough, but the space has to be respected with smaller fixtures and furniture, for the most part.  

One of the joys of an old house is uncovering the past during renovations, it was so fun to see the original wallpaper under the 1950's cabinets.  The room had been finished with a drop ceiling and I had no idea if the ceiling was in fact as high as the other rooms on the main floor... thankfully it is.
The old wallpaper circa 1915.
Originally this room was a main floor cloak room.
 I was hoping for a high ceiling that could be painted a few shades darker than the new trim, with a chandelier and crown moulding added in.
The new chandelier, I wanted a dramatic crown moulding.
I chose a darker paint for the ceiling.
 The lighting for this room was going to be key and it was a bit of a rush as I had one day to find a chandelier and wall sconces.  The sconces are basic glass and blend in with the wallpaper.
 The 1950's renovation had left the sink under the window right next to a rather large loo.  It was such a bad design!  Once the cupboards were torn out it became possible to position the sink across from the biffy, with a mirror above in a classic layout.  The room feels much more spacious.
 I chose smaller, slightly modern fixtures.
 I really wanted a marble baseboard after noticing baseboards constructed this way at The Fairmont Empress in Victoria BC.  I think it's a nice clean touch for a bathroom.
 The biffy is a small, European looking model with a super clean line.  I chose all of the fixtures and then hightailed it out of here to England.  While on holiday I just hoped that I had made the right choices and I wouldn't really recommend this method as I was a bit anxious about it while away and just basically had to cross my fingers!
 While the fixtures were priced quite reasonably and I managed to find the wallpaper on deep discount we did splurge on the mirror.
Kohler Mirrored Cabinet
 It was MrBP who really fell in love with it, it is tall and clean looking, the height emphasizing the ceilings and the lack of a frame really essential due to the patterned wallpaper.

The best part is the storage inside which is hidden due to the design of the mirror, it sits flush against the wall yet has a good three inches of depth inside.
 This bathroom is mainly for guests though it does get quite a bit of use by the family as well.  It is perfectly situated off of the larger foyer, near the front door but well away from the dining room, living room or kitchen.

I have some supplies handy for guests and the family, how do you like these Muppet Band-Aids?  They're my favourite!
 The antiseptic is practical and the Diptyque fragrances are my little touch of luxury.  I haven't purchased this room spray for the other bathrooms but it is a nice touch for guests.
Well we're into it now: Renovation 2015.  It is the 100th birthday of our home next year so perhaps fitting that we are giving it a good overhaul.  The powder room was the beginning of the list but there are many more things to do, all to be accomplished in stages starting in October.
We are not adding on but are reworking the existing space and layout and focussing on the finishes.  The renovation involves some outside stone work, windows and a new door, new flooring throughout and last but not least a new kitchen.  Hopefully the work will wrap up by February, let me know if you're interested and I'll keep writing about it!
 We have hired a designer to manage the entire project but many of the smaller decorating decisions I am taking into my own hands, to save money of course but we are also having a good time choosing the right antiques and fabrics to finish off the rooms.
I'll be doing any sewing myself and this English linen is next on my project list: it's going in the master bath as a new curtain for the window.
I'm hoping to accomplish lots of sewing in September once we get the Rascals settled into a new school year and they will be my focus this week... so if I'm late in responding to comments you'll know it's because I'm out buying pencils (or in the case of Ole Rascal, helping him move into his new apartment).
Take Care Tooties!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rush On Over: The Brora Warehouse Sale

 I was thrilled to see the Brora Warehouse Clearance up this morning, such beautiful knitwear and such deals!

I have the Long Line Cardigan and it is a dream.
 It's funny because just last evening I was thinking about the holiday season this year, it is going to be quite hectic and full of commotion in the BP household due to our renovations.
Before I went to sleep last night I vowed to myself that I would get holiday gifts organized extra early this year, well Tooties I've done it!

Men's cashmere socks are a terrific gift, MrBP loves these:
 Of course the Brora Cropped Cashmere Cardigan is a classic, and beautiful for a woman of any age, my daughters wear them and so do I.  They are cozy over a dress and waist-defining.
 The Cashmere Bed Socks are the best!  What a lovely gift these make, they will be used nightly and loved always.
 When you click on over have a look through the children's section for some excellent Christmas gifts.  I am fortunate to have a new baby nephew in my life and I know he will be so so cute and toasty in his Brora presents.
 My brother and his wife will appreciate seeing their baby so cozy and warm as they live in the Far North of Canada.
Happy Weekend Tootie Darlings and have fun if you shop this amazing sale!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Autumn Colour Story

J.Crew perfect fit tee in chocolate brown.
J.Crew merino cardigan in a brown zebra print, 2007.
 My colour story for Autumn this year features lots of J.Crew from 2005 through 2008 (as well as a bit of new J.Crew), some classic, cozy Brora items from 2011 through 2012 and a treasured Louis Vuitton handbag.  I've finished the outfits with shoes from Ferragamo as well as a pair of Manolo Blahnik kitten heels.
There are three coats I'm planning to wear and they are all "vintage" J.Crew.  I found most of the pieces on ebay over the last few years.  As I've mentioned before I adored the look of J.Crew in 2007 through 2008 in particular though I wasn't buying much new clothing at the time.  Of course the jumble sale of the gods (which is our Tabs term for ebay!) has let me make up for lost time...

I found this zebra-tastic cardigan on ebay.  The pattern is so fun and how about this detail: it has the sweetest little wooden buttons.
Perfect little wooden buttons.
 J.Crew was preoccupied with zebra print in 2007-2008 and lucky for me those pieces found their way to the old jumble sale, this merino sweater dress has a classic bateau neck and looks like just-the-thing under my J.Crew long golden sweater coat (2008).
Zebra print merino sweater dress with a golden topper.
 I own two pieces of Brora cashmere in this most excellent mustard yellow: a short sleeve jumper and a cropped cardigan.
This next outfit illustration was acquired completely through ebay over the last few years, with the exception of my Brora jumper.  The crocodile patterned brown Vara pumps were the most recent purchase and I should note that if you know your size in a particular brand it is not very risky to look to ebay.  As far as shoes go however, check the width!  Ferragamo's in particular come in several different widths, from very narrow to wide.
Brora short sleeve jumper, Chanel linen skirt,
Liberty silk twill scarf and Salvatore Ferragamo croc Vara pumps.
 My J.Crew library dress is a constant autumn favourite, the empire waist is very comfortable and with my Brora cropped cardigan the dress acquires that waist definition + full skirt that I tend to gravitate towards.  I like to think of the Brora Cropped Cardigan as an "hourglass figure maker".
J.Crew Library Dress 2007 with the Brora cropped cardigan.
 I found another dress to match my treasured yellow Brora cardigan, this one is also from J.Crew's 2007 autumn collection and the colours are amazing.
 The dress has a simple knee-length silhouette with spaghetti straps and a blouson style waist (remedied by the cropped cardigan of course).  The best part?  The dress is fully lined in silk!

A back zip my favourite as well as a silk lining.
Back in the Old Days J.Crew did not fool around.
 I still keep an eye on current J.Crew and for autumn this year I found a fun piece: a chunky shiny stone bracelet in colours that complement my story.
A Brora Basic: a jumper in "sand".
Brora wool stole with tassel trim from a few seasons back.
 I can no longer find the bracelet on the website but you can see that the colours range from aubergine through to golden yellow and pretty pinks.  I love the way it looks with my older Brora wool stole:
 With basic colours and silhouettes it's nice to have a fun piece like this inexpensive bracelet, and the gold tones play off the gold details and zipper on my autumn handbag: the chocolate brown Louis Vuitton that MrBP bought me in Paris in 2012:
LV Treasure
 If we're talking shiny let's look at some patent driving loafers with more gold detail: these Ferragamo driving mocs are grippy-excellent, I tend to wear them when I'm cleaning my house as they prevent me from slipping under mounds of laundry or on wet floors.
Shiny + Shiny
 Naomi my dear I thought of you when I found this sequinned merino sweater on ebay this summer!
 It's leopard AND it's sequinned, win-win.  I'll try to calm it down with some denim jeans:
 I wanted to find a cotton skirt in my colours for autumn that could be worn on one of those warmer days we often have... this Miu Miu skirt in cotton has a brown, navy and wine coloured print on white. I'll wear it with a J.Crew perfect-fit tee and those brown croc pumps.
 How about jackets?
I found this short nubbly 2005 J.Crew jacket on ebay, I believe it was named the "Greenwich".
 It's easy with jeans and one of those perfect fit tees.
 The centrepiece of this entire colour story just might be this coat... the "Pembroke" in a fabulous yellow and cream tweed.
Belted silhouette.

Interior lining with chocolate brown and fuschia detail.

Adorable peter pan collar.

Interesting braided trim along front and cuffs.
Found on ebay from a lovely seller in California.
 This silk twill blouse is also older J.Crew, I loved that twill they used for these cute tops.
J.Crew silk twill blouse 2007 in cream, tan and brown.
I have a couple of Dolce&Gabbana dresses, also found on ebay, that are very basic colours and silhouettes.
Beige-tastic D&G dress in silk linen, lined in silk.
 Dolce&Gabbana seem to do that feminine silhouette so well... a fitted waist and a slim or full skirt.  These frocks are both fully lined in silk which makes them really comfortable and easy to wear.
Chocolate brown wool corset dress fully lined in silk.
 When you consider the construction they are unbelievable bargains, less than $100 each for these frocks.  If you like a silk-lined dress look for pre-owned frocks from big design houses... a silk lining is becoming so rare these days!  To figure out my sizing I went to the D&G website.
The waist detail: D&G does like a feminine shape.
 When I trot out on the town I'll top one of these frocks with my J.Crew Encore trench, a pretty yet useful piece that I love to wear in the autumn.  I've had these Blahnik kitten heels forever (again cheapie ebay), they're great to wear to dinner but I wouldn't tour an art gallery in them, they are a bit torturous though you can't beat the look.
There you have it, my Autumn closet... and I don't know about you but I put summer away on August 13th this year.  I find by the time I get to mid-August I'm ready for a change from blue and white summer frocks.  By the time we get to mid-November I'll switch out again, to cozy early winter and holiday clothes.
Have you thought about your Autumn colours?  If you're in Australia have you moved towards spring yet (at least in thought)?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mop Philosophy Monday

Mrs Tiggy-Winkle
I've been rushing around trying to channel the spirit of my hero Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.  I spent three days washing up and organizing Little Rascal's things for camp and then when she left the real work began: all of the chores and household tasks I've been putting off all summer.
I'm also busy scheming and planning our renovation, there are so many details to look after.

Being a Dreamer I am focussed on aesthetic details: like for example the stain colour for the hardwood floors, it would be nice to mimic this wood floor found in Wordworth's House at Rydal Mount, don't you think?
Wordsworth paced these floors.
It was thrilling to see some of the antique furniture that Wordsworth actually used, like for example one of his "cutlass chairs".  It was the only thing he would write on, apparently he was too fidgety to sit at a desk:

Pen as sword?
 Wendy I thought you'd be interested in how Wordsworth decorated with books!
Wordsworth decorated with books.
 One of our plans is to create a study fit for MrBP so I'll be keeping Wordsworth Decor in mind.  In the meantime we have lists as long as our arms, but thankfully managed to cross one item off the list this weekend.
We finally found a little cabinet for our master bath, it's only taken two years to find the perfect one.
It's a "chevet", or little bedside cabinet that is lined in marble with a marble top... it was meant to hold a bedpan hence the marble lining of the cabinet (ahem, easy to clean).
Cabriole leg detail.

There is a "pot cupboard" at the bottom topped with a frieze drawer.

The cupboard portion is the perfect size to hold a hairdryer and haircare products.
Notice the marble lining, don't worry I gave it a good scrub.
 The top of the chevet is a gorgeous rouge marble, perfect for holding the typical bathroom items: creams, emollients, perfumes and nail polish.
 The drawer is the best part as it can hold all of the small items which have been laying around the top of my pedestal sink making a mess of themselves.
Small items corralled in the drawer.

 I really like the combination of the walnut with the marble, aesthetically it's just so pleasing.

Here's a detail of the top with the walnut trim around the rouge marble:
Walnut Chevet
Made in France 1880
 In between chores and bursting my brain with thoughts of renovating I've been engaging in that most soothing activity: putting together a Colour Story for autumn!
Here's a sneak peek, I hope to get the full post up sometime tomorrow.
Let's have a productive week Tooties!