Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Colorful and Budget-Friendly Collectible

Abundant as the harvests they advertised, vintage fruit labels are a versatile collectible. Valued for their color, motif and age, original labels not only indicated the contents of a crate being shipped across the country, they also soon served as travel marketing, touting the beauty of each region they originated from, says vintage fruit label expert Dwayne Rogers.

To start a collection of your own, get to know these tips:
  • Prices range from a few dollars each for commonly produced and later designs to up to $200 for rare and pristine examples.
  • Handling marks, tears, printer flaws, creases and wrinkles all affect value, but since the genre is fairly new, there isn’t a formalized grading system, and the value is often in the eye of the beholder. This works in the collector’s favor, so it’s easier to find great prices or bargain for better deals.
  • When storing or displaying vintage labels, be sure to use acid-free paper and mats to prevent damage and decay.
  • There’s no right way to collect labels; you can build a set around type of fruit, state or color.  Buy motifs that you love or ones that complement your décor and the value will follow.

Remembering Sixteen Candles

There is one boy I never got over. My husband, however, does not consider him a threat. He was tall, sculpted and had the sensitivity of someone considering a life in the monastery. He was unattainable but put himself out there. His name was Jake Ryan.

Sixteen Candles
For those who came of age with John Hughes’ films, Jake Ryan was the Prince Charming of our generation. If you are unaware of Jake Ryan, the character played by Michael Schoeffling in Sixteen Candles, here’s a brief synopsis:
The film’s heroine, Samantha, a gawky redhead, is a high school sophomore about to turn 16. Samantha’s birthday becomes an afterthought as her family gathers one weekend for her sister’s wedding.

Enter Jake Ryan, the demi-god senior who sits behind Samantha in homeroom, making her as hot as a volcanic flower. Throw in some amusing supportive roles—notably a geek with a penchant for floppy disks and a Chinese exchange student who wears cardigans—and a high school dance that trickles into Jake’s home with out-of-town parents. The night is comedic, with one-liners served in each scene, though we keep returning to Samantha’s romantic plight. Will Jake leave his perfect girlfriend for an awkward girl he only knows by poorly timed stares in homeroom? He does. Jake rescues Samantha from her sister’s wedding in a red Porsche—1984’s version of a white stallion. We cut to the final scene of the two seated over a birthday cake blazing with 16 candles. They kiss.

Sixteen Candles includes many improvisational moments and sultry, gratuitous Jake Ryan shots to assure its classic status with regular plays on cable television. Sometime after the success of the film, Schoeffling did a very strange thing: He fell from Hollywood to become the J.D. Salinger of young heartthrob actors. This one-hit wonder adds to his intrigue, which assures the love-lost phenomenon that has bewitched myself and countless others.

I related to the growing pains of a character like Samantha, completed the necessary credits in college to achieve a respectable place in the real world, met a man I love and started a family. But there is a part of me fueled by Jake Ryan. The side that is interested in how a couple met and what they do to keep the spark alive. How I waited to commit to someone who I could imagine driving to a wedding for no reason other than wanting to eat a birthday cake with me on top of a dining room table.

Source: Romantic Homes Magazine

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bring on the Holidays!

What falls into the category of a luxury? Dining at a restaurant with a waiter whose sole function is to grind pepper? Traveling to an exotic destination where immunization shots are required?
Christmas Decoration
This past year, as my son, Luc, has fully assumed his toddler stage, an afternoon to just go blank is luxury: not checking work emails, not obsessing about how many pieces of broccoli Luc has eaten or whether Cheerios are really worth the mess—floors do not have to be swept on the hour.

There is an irony about Holiday Celebrating: The assumed pressure—decorating the home and making meals that involve ingredients gathered from three markets. The approach I enjoy is to take in the company of others who allow you to slip from
the mundane routine of everyday life to relish the celebratory—albeit relaxing—notes of the season. 

By Jacqueline deMontravel
Photo courtesy of

Thursday, November 22, 2012

DIY - How to Create Eye-Catching Autumn Arrangements

Eric Cortina of Roger’s Gardens shares his tips and tricks for unique centerpieces and tablescapes.

Potted Plants and Flowers
  1. Group wicker baskets together and fill with blooms or small potted herbs. Choose herbs without strong fragrances that would interfere with dining or the atmosphere.
  2. Use fruit for centerpieces. Try grapes and with figs and gather foliage from your garden in similar colors to add.
  3. Instead of a single centerpiece, scatter multiple pewter and copper containers down the table and fill them with autumn-colored roses mixed with fall leaves.
  4. Use wire baskets to plant small blooming plants such as chrysanthemums or antique pansies. Add in gourds or fall pumpkins for more interest.
  5. Embellish centerpieces with folk art such as seasonal ornaments by Bethany Lowe that will add a traditional homey style.
  6. Use oranges instead of pumpkins. Bunch orange roses in places to continue the color theme.
  7. Arrange several candles together and place in groups on the table. Along with traditional votive candles, mixing in those of different heights and sizes makes the overall look more interesting and exciting.
  8. Be eco-friendly and chic by using potted plants and flowers that you can later add to your garden.
These DIY home décor ideas will give your home a refreshing look and make it a Well Styled Home!

Open a New Door

Our new Bedrooms & Baths website is a wonderful way to get in touch with the best comforts of home. 

Reluctant to take expensive resort trips given the economy, we craft spa luxuries where we can or splurge on a great robe to get us in relaxation mode. When you retire to your chambers at the end of a long day, rest yourself on sheets that ease your tired body and soft blankets in colors that reflect your favorite things. I’ve found that it truly doesn’t matter if it’s a grand master suite or a tiny humble room in an old cottage house; these are the places we carefully dress in the kinds of fineries that simply make us happy.

Bedrooms & Baths
Bedrooms & Baths

With each post, I hope you find something to add to your rooms of contentment: a new accessory to refresh your décor, a simple solution for a certain quandary and at least one little indulgence. I hope you discover new ideas, such as the shed house. When we were children, they were our favorite places: tiny sheds and backyard shacks that felt like secret hideaways and special rooms. Or, for the lucky kids, real tree houses equipped with diminutive chairs and Mom’s kitchen rag fashioned to cover a window. They were for games and play or places to stir our imaginations.

Thanks to good old ingenuity and the spirit of resourcefulness in times of need, these backyard constructions are being re-imagined into useful and beautiful extra rooms for the home. Whether for a home office or guestroom, craft room or nap room, reclaim those sheds (the tools can go elsewhere). Use them—and this special issue—to re-ignite the thrill of carving out your own special havens.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Victorian Lifestyle: The English Country House

When imagining the Victorian country house, scenes of lavishly decorated homes accompanied by sprawling, immaculately manicured grounds spring to mind. But this picture of perfection depended upon the tireless work of a vast staff consisting of indoor and outdoor servants—and the authoritative Lady and Lord of the Manor who managed them.

I recently read Oxford Brookes professor Pamela Horn’s book Life in the Victorian Country House, which describes the hierarchical relationship existed between the owners and their servants as well as between the servants themselves. Drawing on her expertise and knowledge as a British social historian, Horn describes how governing a country house was a full-time job for its owners, whose societal reputation often rested upon their estate’s levels of grandeur and general upkeep.

Horn explains that the Lady’s primary domestic duty was to govern the household servants, primarily communicating with the butler and head housekeeper. At the top of the servant pecking order, they would pass on the Lady’s instructions to the rest of the household staff. The butler and head housekeeper’s level of authority was also reflected by sitting at the head of the servants’ dinner table while the rest sat in descending order based on their rank.

While she was busy at home, the Lady’s husband would spend a great deal of time outdoors, overseeing the land and the staff that maintained it. The land came most into use during the hunting season, when they would host large parties—often the most popular social gatherings of the year. 

Another social highlight was the London “season.” This was when the family would travel to London to attend parties and high-society events, often in an attempt to marry off unwed daughters. While some servants accompanied them, for the majority these were times when they were free from the watchful eyes of their employers.

Horn describes how some employers were extremely generous to their employees while others treated them as “part of the furniture.” Some employers left hefty sums in their wills to their most beloved servants, while others instructed their staff never to look directly at them and only communicate with them via the butler.

The author’s detailed descriptions are supplemented with an ample array of quotations, photographs, advertisements and cartoons from the period. For an engaging, inside look at life in a bygone era, Life in the Victorian Country House is not to be missed.

By - Laura Hannam

Life in the Victorian Country House by Pamela Horn, © 2010 Shire Books,

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tips for a Mod, Romantic Look

Follow interior designer Mari Robeson’s tips to get a snazzy bedroom.

Romantic Bed Room
Romantic Bedroom
1) Make sure you have an ultra comfortable bed, and invest in good linens. Keep it cozy with a fluffy duvet cover and lots of pillows.
2) Black and white mixed with one other bold color will keep it graphic and modern. Picking a warm wall color will keep it cozy.
3) Always have fresh flowers, candles and a good book or two to read. They set the mood to relax.
4) Reinvent a traditional piece of furniture by painting it a bold  color. It will make a familiar piece feel modern and fresh again.
5) Start with a pillow or fabric that you love, and build around it
as your inspiration.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Passionate Tale

If we could add a word to the title of Romantic Homes it would be “passion.”

Not the salsa dancing, late night, Miami Beach kind of passion but rather the artistic sense of the word. We profile creators enraptured by the process of being caught in the vortex of their craft. Perhaps they run their own online bedding store or they are moms who can make a plate of meringues look like high art. Regardless, their language is spoken through design, crafts, flowers, fabric, food, living.

Romantic Flowers
Noel Solomon has such passion. She can get lost with a pair of scissors and some really great French paper. The once-blank sheets blossom into flowers on a beauty spurt. A dozen of these paper creations, adhered to the wall, widen the dramatic effect. So opulent, the effect is a formidable competitor to a Bergdorf window display.

Noel is a good read on inspiration, and we are devotees of those who inspire. Passionate people take risks. They will give up the nicely paying finance job so they can transform wire and ribbon into bird ornaments. They loosen the grip of reality to follow their desire Passion.

10 Easy Ways to Infuse Glamour into Your Home

Bring a flourish of style and elegance to every room. Try adding a few of these simple Decor Ideas to bring glamour into your home.


  1. Flowers tied with ribbon.
  2. Fresh fruit on the table.
  3. Scented candles lit during the day.
  4. The kind of music that would be heard in a Paris tea salon.
  5. Dim lighting.
  6. Perfume displayed in vintage bottles.
  7. Fairy lights wrapped along a bedpost.
  8. Handsome chocolate set in great dishes.
  9. Bath salts perched on the rim of an old tub.
  10. Soft throws warming up an armrest.
Photography : Jaimee Itagaki
Styled by Jacqueline deMontravel