Friday, February 29, 2008

Where We Are Now

It has been a long while since we moved everything from the Crescent City to Baton Rouge. We closed those doors at the end of 2006 and then worked as fast as we could to get it all up the river and into the new place. And then we just enjoyed seeing it all again and remembering why we had put it into the mix in the first place. Every single thing that we unpacked and placed on display was there for a reason - because it made us happy to just look at it! And when we moved things around and put together new combinations of old favorites we knew again the magic of "personality" and "character". It is always a gift when we see that the things we have loved for so long can mesh and fit in with the new things that are catching our fancy. Our lives and our homes are the canvas upon which we paint our mark. These pictures form the gallery that exhibit all the quirky luxuries that make our everydays special.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Good Read

Actually, to be more specific, not a good read as much as a great picture book. In fact, three great picture books. If you want to get a good "feel" for what it really is to be New Orleans At Home you simply have to open your eyes and ears and put your nose to the wind to sniff the essence that is New Orleans. These three books are a great starting point. So much of New Orleans is all about the sensory experience - the sounds, the smells, the feel of the textures all around, and the colors and shapes that are everywhere on the streets and in the homes and shops.
These books are just simply beautiful - no two ways about it. To turn the page is to gently nudge the memory bank to spill out another wondrous adventure that takes you back in time and space. Historically, the city is a gem - always has been, and even now, is still sparkling in its own unique fashion. It is not so much the buildings that are still standing or that were just a few years ago, but rather the relationship they have enjoyed with the constant stream of "folks" passing through or pulling into their driveway at home in the Quarter, Mid City, Uptown or Metairie and anyplace in between. We are used to looking at things from strange perspectives - upside down, inside out, straight on, from behind a dangling leaf, around a wrought iron rod, or through a glass of spirits. Everything is seen in the context of what we are, what we have or have not, and what we do. New Orleans is a way of living each day - and making every day special. That is what we do here at New Orleans At Home. Give us a call, send an email, drop us a line and we will be happy to share with you. We can send you a copy of these special books that hold court on the shelves of our store. We can suggest many ways in which you can have New Orleans At Home. It is our pleasure to show you how we can make your everyday special too!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Riot of Color

Color on the table makes for an interesting conversation. One of the suggested colors for a dining room wall is red or some variation thereof. It is said to stimulate conversation and excite the palate. If repainting your walls red is out of the question, it is easy enough to introduce the color into the room in other ways. Accessories are one really good way to accomplish the insertion of the excitement factor. One of my favorite things is the napkin ring or napkin holder. They are not much used these days, at least not as they once were. Once upon a time, it was the napkin ring that served as the identifying marker for each persons napkin and place at the table. When napkins were used for more than one meal, a way to determine one napkin from another was essential. Today, the napkin ring has been elevated to a star position when the tone is being set for the meal. Napkin rings can set the stage for the entire table drama. From sterling bands with gracious monograms to bejeweled and glittery ropes of beads, the napkin ring can easily take the ordinary and make it special!

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's Only Soap

It's only soap and you probably don't think about it too often. Except, perhaps, when the soap dish is empty. Then the fun begins. Exactly what does that bar of soap do for you, anyway. You look at it everytime you stand by the sink. Why not look at something with some pizazz, some sparkle, some humor, and some beauty. Let's pick some soap with a really wondrous texture and feel to it. Let's chose one for its great color. Let that special fragrance take you back to the fields of France or Italy. Or to the beach and its clear, crisp scent. Or maybe, for a little smile or two, let's pretend and chose an egg shape to drop carefully into a nest shaped dish to cradle it on the counter. Have some fun with that soap!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Art Is Where You Find It

Sometimes you just want to grab a brush and start moving that paint around the canvas. And sometimes the paint just moves around on its own. It has always been interesting to me to see where the spirit takes me when I am trying to paint. I say "trying" because there are some of us who do paint, and do it quite well, and then some like me who just "try". I think that we really don't know what we are doing, and in fact, we aren't so much doing anything as much as we are letting the something do itself. I may start out with a particular picture in my head, but what ends up on the canvas is almost never what I intended it to be. Here are two of my latest efforts at putting the paint on the canvas. They are so very different from what I usually do - pastoral scenes of favorite spots from pictures and memories of travels, more often than not of Italy. These, however, just popped themselves onto the canvas and there they are. Art is where you find it --- or really, where it finds you! Pick up a brush, slosh on some paint, and see where you find it!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's in the Shadow

This is one of my most favorite small tables. Not only is the color really neat, but the size and shape lend it to being placed just about anywhere you want to see it. And the carving detail is what really captures my eye. As the light changes during the day, different shadows are cast and the design takes on a life of its own. I can imagine this piece having lived in the overcast day of early Spring somewhere in Stockholm or in the outer fringes of Seattle. I can just as easily picture it supporting a spring bouquet somewhere in south Louisiana or the high country of Utah. It is at home in a modest dwelling, but would be just as perfect in the entry or back hallway of a grand domain. Lamps, books, a cup of tea, a small display of antique silver, the prize specimens from a stamp collection -- all are perfect for such a welcoming stage. Utilitarian as well as decorative, this table is a "must" in the list of those things that can make our everyday special. Just to glance at it as you pass through a room is a delight for the eye!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eat Your Cake

Yes, you can eat your cake and have it too! Have that wonderful cake plate, that is. How many different uses can there be for a cake stand or cake plate? Well, how many different things do you want to showcase? Jewelry, cupcakes, birthday cakes, flowers, plants, soaps, beautiful cards, calling cards, business cards, .............the list goes on as far as your eye can see. Pictured above are a few of my most favorite cake stands and plates. I use them in the store to display all sorts of things, and at home they are often the center of a party table setting --- just because they are so grand to have sitting there setting the stage for some great times. Let me know what you use your cake stands to showcase. A good friend of mine has been giving a cake stand as a wedding gift for many years now, and it has always been one of the favorites that have been received. A cake stand is something we almost never purchase for ourselves so being on the receiving end of such a gift is truly a joy.

Bake a cake and it looks great. Showcase in on your cake stand and it is an instant work of art!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

That's the Rub

Ah, that's the rub! Well, really, it is. That's what it is if you're doing the rubbing with the your favorite towel. Towels are an individual preference sort of thing. Some of us prefer a really soft, absorbant, thick towel while others go for the spartan spa type that has more of a "stand up" texture. Then there is the line drawn in the sand, or floor tile, between "the neutrals" consisting of white and ivory, natural, champagne, and all the other romantic names for that range of hue. On the other side stand the support team for "the colorful" towels that span the rainbow all the way through Roy G. Biv. My favorite towel for a long time was the Abyss superpile towel. We sold it in the store in New Orleans and it quickly became a favorite of many of our customers who really appreciated the soft hand and absorbance level. Now, I have discovered a new favorite that graces my shelves here in Baton Rouge. It is theMilagro by John Matouk and Company ( And while I have often been on the side of the neutrals, I find myself admiring the beautiful color range of these towels. They are thick, luxuriant, absorbant, and just plain beautiful! The threads used in the towels is an Egyptian cotton "zero twist" thread.
Another wonderful and "new to us" towel is the one offered by HomeSource. It is a microcotton fiber and it also comes in a deep palette of beautiful colors. Homesource also offers a towel made from the bamboo plant and this particular towel is made in very soft colors. The third towel that makes the favorite towel list is the Etoile Towel made by Yves Delorme. These are also long-time favorites of some of our long time favorite customers in New Orleans. The color range has been expanded and now includes a range of soft hues that will grace any bath or powder room in which they reside. Their absorbancy and "hand" are second to none.
I am taking some of each home with me today and I will do all those things that I can imagine a person doing to a towel in the confines of the laundry room and/or garage. I do this with almost everything that I sell so that I can be sure that what the vendor claims about care is actually what I can replicate in my home. Sometimes a seeming "winner" in the towel wars loses in the laundry room.
How pleasing it is to see a beautiful towel draped over the rack just waiting to envelope you in luxury of texture and color. Enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Black and White

Black and White is a combination that has been used throughout time. Just recently in a trade publication I read that once again this particular duo will be one of the highlights and darlings in the fashion trade as well as the lifestyle-homefurnishings-decorative accessories branches of design. When seeking the perfect backdrop for a color or accent piece the eye almost always demands the black/white combo. Pastels, brights, primary or dominant - there is no hue that is not enhanced by the infusion of the contrast of black/white. On the table top this can be achieved by use of particular linens or ceramic pieces. One of my favorite sources for the ceramic art is the work of Frances Palmer Pottery. Taking classic designs and lines and giving them an artistic twist is the particular quirky talent of Frances Palmer. Visit her website to see what she is doing with this most basic element of design - I have included some pictures of pieces that I have here in the shop from her Pearl Collection which is manufactured from molds cast of her hand thrown pieces. They are certainly utilitarian with the added benefit of just being plain beautiful. And I defy anyone to resist the temptation to just reach out and run you finger around the shapes and forms. Her works fall into that class of magic things that certainly make an everyday special. Just imagine yourself holding one of her mugs as you take that first sip of cafe au lait and set your dreams and plans on their way!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Show Me Some Style

Whenever I look at a piece of well-used silver or a piece of vintage linen I am struck by the beauty not only of the exquisite design, but also of the detail and style of the monogram so carefully placed on the item. Monograms are, for me, a design element in themselves. They add to the value of certain pieces because of their personalization for the owner whose mark is shown. When studying these various pieces of history it is always interesting to note the differing styles used and how they might be reflective of the socio-economic as well as historic importance of the era. In the shop I have many really quaint pieces that are "perfect" despite the mystery of their intended use or previous ownership. I have chosen them because of their visual delight, and their capacity to "sing" to me as I gaze at them. I have included some examples of ones that are of particular interest to me and I hope that you enjoy looking at them. An interesting area to investigate would be archives of "pop" music for the same time. Perhaps a visit to Google is in order again!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spanish Baroque

Spanish Baroque by Reed and Barton Sterling is one of those things that sings to me. It has had that magic ability since I first saw it over 30 years ago. I have had and treasured many pieces of sterling silver in this pattern and every single time that I have held it, washed it, eaten from it, or just gazed at it there has been a certain magic about it. I have just begun to really investigate the many different patterns that are used to decorate those most used utensils that we encounter everyday. Many of the most beautiful patterns are no longer in production which only makes them all the more special. To start the day with such a beautiful implement to serve up the daily yogurt or cereal is a real treat, not to mention what a good stir to the caffeine can do if you are holding an historic pattern as you swim towards the surface of the day and the beginning of the daily grind!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What makes it special?

Have you ever had something that just sang to you when you looked at it? Some things have a special quality about them that makes them shine, makes them sing, makes them "perfect". It is these things that we need in our everyday lives. We will take some time each day to search out those perfect things and talk about how they contribute to our lives and what they have that makes our everyday special.
This special something could be chosen for its beautiful colors, wonderful textures, transforming scents, or its design elements. It can be utilitarian or just a show-off piece. It can be eaten, listened to, ridden in or on, worn, or just "be". Join us as we start our journey into the world of the everyday -- and what makes our everyday special.