The light shines through my big picture window in the morning, and I love the way it highlights the silver threads on my new linen pillows. The gray-blue painted wood is my antique Swedish Gustavian bench with a harp motif. These Swedish antiques were more country provincial than polished city pieces. So, they fit perfectly in my living room.

 The challenging part of creating a neutral color palette is exercising restraint. I am from New York...I am not normally a restrained person, lol. But a neutral color palette is so beautiful and soothing, and it's such a French provincial look. If I could, I would live in a stone home built in 1400. But we don't have too many of those here in New York. Someday, I will live in France!

I am aiming to achieve a totally neutral palette in most of my home. To keep this from being boring, I am combining many different textures. There's the silvery shiny threads, the soft uneven feel of the linen, and the super chippy paint that you can see on the little pots. I think I will find some air ferns to go in these pots. A little green from live plants doesn't spoil my neutral theme... I think it will enhance it.

Do you see how beautifully the light reflects on the silver and  linen? Every girl needs just a little sparkle to keep her farmhouse shining.
I would love to know how you've added a little bling to your neutral this week. Your comments are my favorite part so please keep them coming. I hope you have a beautiful day.

My Friendly Beach Glass Competition
and How to Build a Beautiful Friendship

 I have an eclectic taste in collecting....Antique French fabrics, grainsacks, and beach glass. I am also very picky about my beach glass. I found every single piece myself, and almost all of it I found walking along the beach on the North Shore of Long Island where I used to have a home. No store bought beach glass for me, thank you :). 

 Now, normally I am not a snob. I am more a tee shirt and flip-flops girl than a diamonds and decked out gal. But when it comes to beach glass, I am definitely all about high end. I'm pretty sure my beach glass collection is ... ummm.... "the best", and my best friend Barb and I have always had a  friendly little competition, just to prove it.

 Barb and I lived  along the same stretch of beach for almost a decade. We walked that beach together many times, with children and without, almost always with a dog or three, in freezing cold, humidity and heat, and once on such a windy day I thought we would never make it back. We always had a great time, talking about everything from gardening to marriages. We became lifelong friends along that beach. 
But... we were competitors.

Turquoise, lavendar and deep blue were the best. Barb could never understand how I could find so much deep blue glass. She has one little jar. I have more.
Brown on the other hand, was run of the mill.  After a while, it wasn't even worth bending over for.

Sometimes, we would find what we thought was a great piece of white, only to realize it was "just" a rock.
The most rare is red, or orange. I have only one piece of red beach glass. Barbara, to the best of my knowledge, has none. 
Shapes are also key. I have a marble. A real, old genuine marble. I also have a full bottle, still intact. And lots of bottle necks. The rounder and smoother, the better. If it's too "new" we have an unspoken rule: we send it back into the sea. It's not "ready" yet. It goes back into the water for another collector to find years down the road. (ummm... down the beach).

Recently, I finally unpacked my beach glass collection. I washed off all the dust, and I am ready to find a beautiful way to display it. Now I know I am home.

 Barb is always excellent at displaying her beach glass. 
But I still have the better collection  :) 

 Before and After

Good morning dear readers. It feels so good to be back and blogging. It means that, among other things, I am DONE with construction (well at least phase one of construction. Phase two won't be coming until my bank account recovers). Thank you for your patience. I thought I would start by sharing with you an "After."

My bed is actually two antique iron bed frames, which I had welded together by a very talented Texan (I WILL get his name for you!), into one beautiful bed. The look of white wash paint here is authentic patina. The beds were Quartermasters beds from the 1800s, and the paint is original. It is fading just perfectly. I promise more close ups soon.

So THIS is why I have been so busy, and, sadly, away from all of you. What's an "after" picture without at least one "before."

So many good things are about to come... These are some of the fabrics I have in the living room, on pillows and window treatments. I am about to start up The Lily Home and my design biz, FreshDesignGroup, Inc. on a more "full-time" basis. I hope to be bringing you many photos of antique and new linens, my French country and provincial favorites, and as always, my antique grain sacks.

This weekend I will be at the East Hampton Antique Show, and in my booth will be an antique Swedish chaise covered in fabulous linen. You can cut and paste the link to this NY Times article into your browser for more info.

Have a beautiful weekend.


Lily and I have an important announcement to finally make... We are the proud new owners of our very own new cottage home! So over the next few months, we are going to show you lots of transformation, from really, really "before" to lot of great (we hope) "afters." To be honest, I have no idea if any of you have ever read my blog more than once, but if you have noticed my absence, a lot has been going on. I have a new day job, the cast is off my hand (a minor riding injury, and no worries, Topper the thoroughbred is just fine), and we are surrounded by a sea of boxes and sheetrock dust.

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you some thoughts for our new home. 

I was thinking about some Swedish pieces with a nice worn patina. Kind of like the old white wash, but a little more gray.

I might add a few accents of silver. My aim is to keep it all monochromatic. Not quite white, but a little grayed out. Silver and gray work beautifully together. And I love mixing the old, worn patina with just a small touch of bling. 

One of my favorite things about my new home is the light. There is so much sunlight and so many windows (so many windows... most of which need replacing.) 

What do you think of this? Isn't it fun? I could just see it as a throw on the old French settee I scored last year for pennies. 

Right now that antique French loveseat is covered with horse hair and burlap (kind of itchy), but I am thinking of slipcovering it in antique French linen, or maybe some of those great antique French sheets.
Beautiful antique French sheet.
These also make gorgeous window treatments.

Of course, there will be plenty of sparkle... what with three girls living here and all (that's counting Lily, of course!). 

I can't wait to start showing you all the before and afters. My movers tell me I have "a lot of stuff" but we all know it's not "stuff." It's all the treasures my kids have ever made me,  along with several dozen pairs of boots,  and  so many great French and Swedish antiques... along with just a little bit of bling. Can't wait to show you....

....a European Influence

Bethesda Fountain and Terrace are considered to be the center of New York's Central Park.  The interior, above, has great acoustics and a backdrop of vividly colored ceiling tiles and painted wall mosaics, flanked by intricately detailed hand painted murals. The ceiling tiles here are "Minton" tile, designed by British designer/architect Jacob Wrey Mould. These European tiles were originally designed to be used on the floors of European Cathedrals. Bethesda Terrace is the only place in the world where these tiles have been used on the ceiling! On any given day, you can find street musicians and students playing just about every type of music inside the terrace.

The entrance to Bethesda Terrace in New York's Central Park
Intricate carvings in the Terrace's Staircase
I was surprised in design school to learn that New York's Central Park was designed architects:  Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Vaux was Britsh and was trained in landscape design as well. (So much of New York was borne out of European talent; the Statue of Liberty, as I am sure you all know, came from France. And the Dutch were among our first settlers to build so much of Wall Street and lower Manhattan).

Vaux's designs from the 1800s were taken to another level a century later by another European Influence... a remarkable young Italian woman,  Lucretia Moroni, who painted the intricately detailed frescos in 1991, when she was all of 23 years old! When I first saw these beautiful murals, I assumed they had been painted a hundred years ago.

Trompe L'Oeil mural inside Bethesda Terrace, Central Park, New York.

  All the details you see here are paint, not sculpture. Trompe L'oeil is French for "fool the eye." Ms. Moroni studied for many years under an Italian master, and today she is one of the world's finest painters in this genre.

These beautiful murals are completely accessible to the public... You can find them just by strolling around Bethesda Fountain. I would love to see Ms. Moroni come back to restore them. But I am also enjoying the patina created by the worn paint. I feel like I am in Italy or Morocco when I spend time inside the Terrace.

This detail of the mural reminds me of water colors running in the rain. Vaux's original vision was to bring the colors of the water from Bethesda Fountain into the interior of the Terrace. 

A friend of mine who has only lived in this part of the United States for a few years is the one who brought me here for the first time. Isn't strange how we can live by a city our whole lives and miss such beautiful parts of it?  I am now making a grand effort to see "everything" NYC has to offer. (Is that possible?) I hope you enjoy the upcoming photos that are a result of my journey.

And as a side note, for those of you who have read my little blog previously, I had some good news this week... We are moving along in our efforts to acquire our tiny old house. In the upcoming weeks and months, I will be beginning my journey of "befores and afters." I would love to somehow mimic the beautiful lady painted by Ms. Moroni in my new home...
Until then, have a beautiful week exploring your world!


An antique grain sack, vintage leather, and crystal beads create a unique and special focal point 
Katherine and I are enjoying a "stuck inside" snow day while we are staying at a friend's beach cottage impatiently awaiting the move to our new home. Beach cottage in a blizzard. Hmmmm..... So I took out a few of my favorite decorating books, including a favorite by Charlotte Moss, and I see pillows, pillows every where. 

Original details such as patches make the piece a true collector's item

 A special pillow is like the jewelry on a well dressed woman. In fact, one of my favorite pillows in Ms. Moss's book is made from a cashmere cable knit sweater, and another is fashioned from a fur wrap. Just like the beautiful touches on a fashionable woman's outfit, the right pillow can bring the perfect focal point to any room,  giving a room confidence and style. This creation which I made recently for a client is going to add a type of "modern barn" or Brooklyn loft feel to a living room. 

Antique French Floral fabrics and antique French ticking stripes
Many designers combine Toiles, stripes, florals and checks or other patterns in a room. Here is a collection of pillows from The Lily Home which includes antique French Rococo fabrics in a bright and feminine color palette, combined with antique French ticking stripe fabric and vintage black leather. The more subdued hues of the antique European homespun and the caramel antique French Art Deco fabric on the large pillow in the back, plus the small hints of turquoise, help to calm the red and ground the collection.

A striking set of accents for any room
The two smallest rectangular pillows I created from an incredibly rare, museum quality piece of French floral fabric from the mid to late 1800s. It would have been used in a French lady's boudoir or possibly as delicate curtains. Bringing a rare treasure like this into your home is a way to make your home stand out as unique and stylish, much the way a designer bag or a special piece of jewelry does for a fashionable woman. I have just as much fun dressing up my rooms as I do getting dressed for a special occasion.

I hope you find a little fashion preview for your own room soon! Until then, enjoy the snow (or whatever wonderful weather you are having)!


Sometimes, my special friend and I take a drive through the countryside, and get a little lost on purpose, just so I can find beautiful places to share with YOU. So, you will please forgive me because I cannot (again) remember the name of the pretty little seaside village in Connecticut where these pictures were taken. I'm hoping one of you wonderful readers will clue me in.

 There are times when I feel a little like a "voyeur" standing at the edge of a lawn just to show you someone's front door. But this time, a charming New England woman who was walking her dog saw me and said, "Isn't it wonderful? It was built in 1772" or 1778, or something along those lines. Anyway, the homeowner is lovingly restoring it. I hope he leaves the patina on the front door. I've always said you cannot recreate that original patina in a reproduction.

Which leads me to a bit of my own news... Well, I hope. If you have been reading this little blog for a few months, you know I said a ways back that I had some exciting news. I am hoping and trying to buy my own little very modest, very original home. This will be big news if it happens because it will be the culmination of a busy, tumultuous, exciting and trying time in the lives of my children and myself. 
So please keep your fingers (and toes, and any other digits) crossed for us that this works...

Okay don't get excited.... THIS is not it. I just loved the look of this home on the Connecticut shoreline, and I am hoping someday to recreate this look, on a much, much smaller scale in my new home that I don't yet own. (I like to think of it as mine. It has very happy vibes.)

The Ocean House
Isn't this absolutely grand? Can't you just see a lovely wedding on the veranda? 

So, that is my trip to Connecticut in a nutshell. My wonderful "friend" drove me all over just to take pretty photos. And soon, I hope to start showing you photos of my own place, and my own personal journey. It has been a very long road, with a lot of rough patches, but the long and difficult journeys are the ones that make us appreciate life so much more, and along the way, we learn that what really makes a home isn't the house at all.... it's the people inside.

Remember... keep your fingers (and toes) crossed please.
Till next time,

The Simple Things in Life
are the Ones We Remember Most.
I hope your Christmas is filled
with Simple Joys.
Thank you all for reading my blog.
I hope you enjoy it as much as
 I enjoy creating it for you.
Merry Christmas!
and the Lily Home


We are so lucky to live very close to Manhattan, so I thought I would share some sights of the season with you. It's my favorite time of year in "the City." This is a garland from the Essex Hotel on Central Park South.

Not upside down. Windows on 5th Avenue.

For me, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without at least one trip to New York City. I know Katherine feels the same way. She is becoming a true city girl. I love our trips to NY together.

This time, we made it an overnight "girls weekend." It was so special. In a little more than a year she will be off to college. I want to spend as much time with her as I can before she goes. But when she comes back, I know I will always be able to talk her into a "girls' trip to the city."

A horse, a dog AND sparkle. You just knew I would love this one, mais oui!

The famous tree at Rockefeller Center. It's just magical. How long does it take to string all those lights?


Ho Ho HO!!

A magical Christmas in Town.

I had hopes of cutting down our own Christmas tree this year, but time got away from me. Which turned out to be just fine, because"someone" surprised me with a trip to the most beautiful nursery instead.

Even though I insist on a real tree, this "not so real" one was right up my alley. All white, with just a little linen and burlap, and the perfect amount of silver and gold shine. Every Christmas tree needs just the right amount of sparkle.

Linen and sequins. The perfect sparkle for a French Country kind of tree.

This would look so perfect with all my antique Swedish and French Country furniture.

I just love how the shine of the silver bird contrasts with the rough of the burlap. I could see the same look being created with, say, a French grain sack or some homespun. Come to think of it, any antique French fabric could look beautiful on a Christmas tree.

Look at the way the light reflects. The ornament looks like ice on snow.

I would love to see some pictures of all your favorite tree ornaments and decorations. Would you send me some? Just post them in the comments section.

Nothing ever turns out the way I planned. But most of the time things turn out even better. Thank you to my "someone" who gave me this year's tree. It was a very special beginning to a  beautiful Christmas.

I would like to dedicate this blog article to my very dear, very creative friend Gina. I also promised you another article on antique German grain sacks, so here we are. Gina helped me create the Amstetten pillow pair above. She also re-created the fabulous wing chair. And together we designed the black Gothic style antique chair pair. 
The genuine antique grain sacks (there have been many reproductions, but none could replicate the beauty of the true originals) were created by carving wooden blocks with painstaking detail, then dipping these blocks in hot tar and burnishing these tar stamps into hand woven homespun linen. From those, we made the pillow pair you see. Next to that, the pair of chairs were antiques from a friend. Gina refinished them in black, and then we covered the seats in antique European homespun. The tops are backed in pearlescent leather. WOW!
I added just a touch of "bling." Do you see the little square crystal? It's all in the details... and I am the "bling" part of our duo.

Our pillow is filled with soft and crunchy feather down. This particular example has a very, very rare blue stripe.
Gina upholstered the back of this antique wing chair in such a fantastic rough and textural weave, and then outlined it in braided jute.

This is a throw I created from an antique European grain sack that was in pristine condition. I love that the grain sacks were so pain-stakingly created. The finest examples must have taken dozens of hours to create, and are intricately detailed, beautifully stylized, balanced and graphic works of art. I also love the textures. Most are nubby, and they range from the very soft to much more coarse. This one is a fine, soft texture.

Here, we sewed the antique grain sack onto another antique European textile: an antique French sheet made of the softest homespun linen. Let's not forget that all this homespun was also hand made. First the flax was grown in the field, then  it was woven into herringbone, twill or other patterns.

The fine detail of yesteryear.

A French woman from the 19th century cross stitched her initials in red. I always incorporate these details into my pieces. They add such an authenticity. Gina hand stitched the vintage leather border onto this throw. Gina has carried on the centuries-old art of fine stitching and hand work. The women of the 18th and 19th centuries hand made everything with such finesse. I love to work with women of today who are equally as talented, creative and attentive to detail.
 A welted border completes the blend between the antique French sheet and the antique German grain sack...  hand woven by women more than 100 years ago, and re-created and  hand-stitched into a beautiful throw by today's talented and creative women.
I am thankful for my many wonderful and dear friends. Gina, Barbara, Katherine, Francesca, Lisa, Linda, Doreen. I love you all. Have a beautiful and thankful Thanksgiving.

This is one of my all time favorite pillow pairs. I call this my Paris meets Texas cowgirl look. It started with an antique German Grain sack dating from 1889. 

The German grain sacks coordinate so beautifully with the antique European Duvets that are stacked in the back. Some of our European duvets are virtually unused even though they date from the turn of the last century. I love placing them on top of a bed, or on my couch to cuddle up in.

My Paris part is the "bling" I added around the edges. I just love the girliness of the dangly crystal beads.

The other pillow of the pair adds the Texas cowgirl part... Distressed leather buckles. The black leather is all vintage. It is super buttery soft. 

Do you see the patch on the bottom? You can tell this is an original patch because it is stitched from the inside of the sack, not the outside.
I know I promised you a follow-up to my piece on antique German grain sacks. That will come next post. And, I also told you I had some news.... I am in the process of acquiring a home to renovate. Let's keep our fingers crossed that this all works out. If it does, I will be bringing you plenty of before, during and after photos. It should be lots of fun...

These duvet covers were hand-woven in Europe in the late 1800s. European duvets are made to top a bed instead of hanging over the sides, so they are the perfect size for cuddling up on the sofa with a good book and a cup of coffee on a chilly Autumn night. They can easily be stuffed with a fluffy twin size comforter. I love them filled with plumpy down.
If you take a look at my website, you will see that two top a queen or king size bed nicely, and one is perfect for a twin. I love keeping them at the foot of my bed to pull up when I am extra cold.
These duvets are very, very rare, and they are also quite durable. They can even be washed in cold in the machine!. I have a nice collection, which I will feature in the upcoming (chilly) months. Kate has her choice of red or blue.
Kate, shoot me an email with your information, to
Oh.... and the answer was Portsmouth, New Hampshire.


Recently, we took a trip to a beautiful seaside village. This coastal town is very historic, and when we took a little walking tour, I was just loving how all the home owners took such pride in their antique entryways.

They all seemed so historically accurate. I love the simplicity. The beauty of the antique architecture really stands out. Of course, we all know I'm a sucker for historical architecture. 

I have a secret I'll be sharing with all of you soon... I'm very excited. And I'm loving this black front door. It's having a big influence on me. I might just go in that direction... you'll see... soon :)

Look at all the black and red. The combination can be bold like this façade....


Or more subdued, like the chippy old paint on this historic beauty.


I couldn't help but notice all the great textures, and in such variety. The smooth, hardness of the stone, the great patina on the worn paints, and lots of iron accents. The roughness of the twig wreath really stands out on the first door, doesn't it?

This one reminds me of New Orleans. The fantastic wrought iron wraps around such a romantic entry way. But this is far from New Orleans. Does anyone know where these historic homes are located? If you can tell me in a comment, I just might have a surprise gift  waiting for you! I'm itching to give away a creation of mine.

So here's a hint... Here's a window of a wonderful restaurant in the town. I hope you liked your visit to your mystery historic seaside village. And I can't wait to share more secrets with you soon.
Remember if you know the answer, send me a comment, and I'll share a creation with you!

One of a kind

My Antique German Grain Sacks
Hand-created textile works of art
I have had a lot of questions recently about my antique German Grain sacks. These woven works of art which have become so popular in the last few years are becoming more and more rare. They are on the verge of extinction, antique-speaking.

The finest examples have beautifully stylized writing, or hand-drawn animals or other farming and country-life themes. Other very rare ones have motifs  of wreaths or crowns. Of course, my personal favorite are the horses.



There is something very special about these antique linens. I'm not sure if it's partly because they started out as utilitarian objects. It's incredible to me that people would put so much care and effort into creating something that carried grain to the market.

In the past I had maybe ten or so horse and equestrian pieces. Now I have only a few, and I cannot get any more. I may never give up the few I have left.


 In Part II of this blog I will talk about how these fine textiles were made....


A New Season

The colors of summer are fading now. I miss them already, but...

very soon the air will get cooler, and the cool greens and blues of summer will give way to the warm oranges and reds of Fall.

 The bright rays from overhead will lower in the sky, and the light will dim...

and a new season will begin. 


Morning Light
Toward the end of the summer, we headed out to Fire Island for the day.
 We took a long walk through several of the beach towns. There are no roads here. The summer cottages are rustic and have a wind-worn beauty.
The paths are dusted in sand, and lined in beach grass. 

The patina of some of my Swedish Gustavian antiques remind me so much of driftwood that is faded by the sand and the sea.

A window box along the beach walk.

Lately I've seen some kitchens and tables being done in lime-washed wood. This is a technique similar to white washing from decades ago when people would water down paint to make a can go further. It is one of my favorite looks; a beautiful time worn patina in a gray blue makes my favorite Swedish antique furniture special.

 Sage by the Sea.

 Detail of rare Gustavian bench from the late 1700s.


The striped quilt is an antique French duvet. It would be so perfect for curling up by the bonfire on a chilly Fire Island night. 
 I hope you had a beautiful summer.


HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER...  Beach Cottage Bliss 
My next stop of the summer was at Tim's beach cottage.  It is the  perfect little beach cottage spot... sand as soft as powder, absolutely no internet or phone, family and friends everywhere, and plenty of Red Solo Cups.

This tiny little beach cottage is truly right in the sand. The women who owned it previously loved yellow and lavender.  
Take a peek inside our humble cottage.

Shadows from the blades of beach grass.

Stick your feet in the sand. I can still feel it. The sand here is soooo soft.

Turquoise and yellow. Time for a good book.

The neutral colors of the sand grains and the pebbles inspire my decorating for my own home. The sand grains remind me of the homespun in my antique French sheets and my French and German grainbags.

Nature's beautiful symmetry in the sand.

The beach inspires my indoor palette. Soft blue grays of the crystal clear water, and the deeper more dramatic hues of the sky in a thunderstorm.

 I am remembering the romantic sail, and loving every moment of it. A perfect  beginning to my "off the grid" summer.
I hope you have a serenely beautiful day...


Well Hello There!
I have returned. I spent my summer taking pictures for you to enjoy, I hope. I started in Brooklyn.
Fabulous flea markets are not just limited to Paris (although, next summer....).

 One might think of this as a wonderful child's toy, but of course, I was thinking what a dynamite accent of red this would be on my French Country sun porch.
Doesn't this just scream "French Provinical!" Please hang me in your salon.

Even the setting seems to recall days of strolling along the Seine. For those of you who haven't yet been, Brooklyn is quite beautiful.

Every maison needs a little whimsy. I call him "Dude" after one of my favorite horses.

I even managed to stumble on some beautiful blue ticking. Since I traveled to the Western United States this summer, I couldn't make it to France. This made me feel so much better. Almost... almost like being there.

Bon Voyage!!! Wouldn't these suitcases make a great set piled high in a living room. What fabulous  looking storage bins.

My wonderful friend Barb and I stumbled upon this colorful set of bicycle wheels just around the corner from the flea market. I know someone will be inspired to  make a great garden display from this photo. If it's YOU, please be sure and send me photos! MERCI!!

Do you know that when you drive out of Brooklyn on the parkway, there is actually a sign that says, "Leaving Brooklyn. Fuggedaboutit!" Seriously, this is true. I pass it frequently (albeit at too fast a speed to get a photo for you.)

So, this is how I started my summer.  Of course I missed being able to post to all of you, but I hope by the time you read through my next few blogs, you will feel it was worth the wait. Many of my locations this summer didn't have internet. I can't wait to tell  you all about my travels off the grid. I hope they help you find inspiration for your home. In the meantime,
Till next time...

A Beautiful Weekend

One hundred and fifty years or so ago, along a rural stretch of the Delaware River, all by hand, men built a mill from stone, mortar and wood.

To them it was useful. To us now, it is beautiful.

Time has worn the mortar away. It's as if nature knew just what to take, to expose the rich colors that lay underneath.


I spent a perfect weekend here enjoying wine and hold hands with the kindest man. All the time, I kept wondering if we were in Pennsylvania or France.
Colors of copper, slate and deep red in a random pattern. If we could miniaturize it, wouldn't this be the perfect stone backsplash in a rustic kitchen? 


Can you picture the families who spent time along the canal, carting grain from the barges, and milling it to feed their families? Maybe 150 years ago, a man and a woman stood on this very spot, holding hands too.
Why do we all love exposed stone.  There is something romantic in knowing this is centuries old.

I see the colors of France in the worn black iron, and the soft chipped red paint. I can feel his hand holding mine as we strolled past the garden gate.

Trails run along the river,  past country homes and gardens, that appear lost in time. The owners seem to enjoy the travelers who peer into their backyards.

It was a perfectly beautiful weekend in every way.