July 10, 2017

I’ll Take This: House with Everything You Could Want!

I have mentioned numerous times how fortunate I am to have so many amazing friends and acquaintances in my life. So when a friend sent a message last week telling me her house was on the market after 40 years, I set up a time to visit, because I knew you’d want to see this incredible house. Warning: There are tons of images, but you’ll want to look at every single one of them!IMG_3149

The house was designed and built in 1926 by Pleasants Pennington who was a favourite of decorators like Dorothy Draper and other society types, and who built houses on Martha’s Vineyard, Tuxedo Park, Locust Valley and other WASPy spots. Although he was based in New York, he had a number of projects in Baltimore, including several houses and public buildings.

Let’s wander around outside to see the 2.5 acre property, hidden within the limits of Baltimore City.

The carriage house and gates, with beautiful benches in the Lutyens style.IMG_3064

These sheep may safely graze – especially since they’re not real.IMG_3142

Across the driveway, there is an old dairy which provided fresh milk to the early residents.IMG_3134

The gazebo, original to the property, is a perfect setting for afternoon cocktails.IMG_3155

There are dozens of boxwoods, some in topiary form, and others just free-growing.IMG_3101

Brick paths lead to the front of the house and throughout the gardens.IMG_3094

There is a tennis court with a greenhouse and shed on the side.IMG_3098

The house is quite grand, but very comfortable, nevertheless. Because there have been so few owners in the past 90+ years, nearly all of the house’s original details are still intact, and hopefully the new owners will be smart enough to keep them and not modernize the place. I question why people buy beautiful old houses like these and then take out the details which make them so special.

And when I said the house has EVERYTHING, I really meant it. There are two silver safes, numerous pantries with the original cupboards, a laundry room, a wine cellar, a sauna, steam shower, library, nine bedrooms, six full and two half baths, fireplaces in nearly every room, plus tons and tons of original milled details that you couldn’t get for love or money now!

The front hallway bisects the house and is at least 20 feet wide. IMG_3124

In each direction, there are wonderful enfilades from room to room.IMG_3070

The house is filled with niches, fireplaces and myriad architectural details.IMG_3066

The home’s owner is an antiques dealer who specializes in porcelain and china, which is evident through the house.IMG_3067

The formal living room features a vignette with imari plates and a stunning antique mirror…IMG_3075

and this classical Georgian fireplace.IMG_3077

The dining room, paneled in pine, has been faux painted and the corner cabinet houses some special pieces of china.IMG_3079

The collections scattered around the house are a combination of serious and whimsicalIMG_3152

The combination of the wallpaper, the fireplace, the pitchers and the picture is flawless.IMG_3112

Again, you can see the owner’s love of porcelain.IMG_3116

This hallway has a close compatriot at the nearby Homewood House.IMG_3119

I love the detail on the ceiling of this small hallway between the powder room and cloak room.IMG_3128

This little trellised room welcomes visitors to the house.IMG_3091

Classic never loses its style.IMG_3144

The house would make an incredible place to raise a family. There’s plenty of room for a slew of children, ample space to entertain friends and family in style and years to make memories which will last forever. For more information about this special house, please click here.

Thanks to my delightful hostess and friend for taking the time out of her busy schedule to show me around her home! xo

July 6, 2017

Bringing the Past to Life

As you might know, if you’ve been a long-time reader of this blog, part of my job involves being the in-house historian at my office. We were founded in 1799, so we’ve got a huge archive and tons of amazing ephemera in our collections. We also have a ghost named Marcia, who lived and worked at our offices for 50 years – 1896-1946.

When we look at all of the old black and white photos, or old photographs of paintings in our collections, they seem so flat and lifeless, even if they include lots of people. In our minds, these aren't real people, because they don't look like the people we see every day. Gibson

But when you add color to the image, it instantly comes to life. I am the resident photoshop wizard, so have played around with colorizing some of our images here.

The first picture I did was our Marcia Crocker Noyes. We like to pose Marcia for the holidays, but when you've got a black and white Marcia on a bright sunny beach, it doesn't look right. So, she needed to be colorized. double marcia

I went down to her old office, and tried to channel Marcia so I could figure out what colors her dress and cape were. I had to guess on some things, but overall, I am pretty happy with the result.

Next up was one of our early headquarters buildings. This was a lot more of a challenge, as it was on the second floor of the Emerald Hotel and Saloon. There were tons of advertisements, windows, brickwork and other details, so it was a perfect job for that odd not-quite-holiday day.double calvert street

Finally, I played around with a group of physicians from the late 1800's. They're a dour bunch, clearly posing for the camera. I am not sure if that's a room at an early HQ building of ours, or a backdrop set. This is the original photo, which I desaturated to make it completely black and white.Baltimore Medical Soc Docs2

Here’s a half-and-half version of it. Baltimore Medical Soc Docs2x

And here’s the fully colourized version. Baltimore Medical Soc Docs2 in colour

I looked at old advertisements for men's clothing in the late 1800's to come up with the colors. I picked hair and eye colors based on closely looking at each of the men and making educated guesses. I have portraits of Drs. Chew and Donaldson, but Chew's hair is white, and Donaldson's hair is a close approximation to this. Here’s Dr. Chew in our portrait of him.

I realize that there are a lot of people who hate the idea of colorizing images, but it's not like the original people or places were in black and white. We are just giving them life again.