The Trades are Working Their Magic

This week, exactly one year has passed since we first saw the Sherman House and decided to rejuvenate the 204-year old home.  The journey has been remarkable and the house is taking shape.  In the next few weeks, electricians, painters, tile installers, wallpaper installers, floor re-finishers and carpenters will work their magic to ready the home for occupancy.

I look forward to posting images of the completed project soon.

In the meantime, please enjoy some progress images:


This in an existing wall covered with multiple layers of paint and wallpaper.  Below is the grasscloth wallcovering from Brewster Home Fashions that will add natural color and texture to the foyer and stair hall.


Here is an antique panel we discovered in the attic.  We don’t think the panel is original to the home.  A previous homeowner may have discovered the relic in Newport and stored the woodwork to use in another project. The panel will serve as the focal point of the new kitchen island.

panel 2


kitchen 2

The kitchen cabinets installed around the perimeter of the kitchen are white.  The island will be painted a subtle hue from Benjamin Moore……..Black Pepper.

black pepper

Here is the vintage chandelier that was installed in the dining room.  This fixture will cast favorable light on the antique transom and sidelights that distinguish the wall of the two story space.


Here is another vintage fixture for the kitchen.  The fixture was created in the 1920s and originally hung in a townhouse in Boston’s Back Bay.  The first tier of candles came in handy when the power went out.  The second tier features bulbs encased in hand-cut glass beads.

kitchen island fixture

I bought these cabinets at an estates sale in Newport over ten years ago.  They were rescued from a butler’s pantry in Newport.  Now they will add storage space to the family room.  I love the antique glass fronts.



Stay tuned for more progress shots.

To read more about grasscloth wallcoverings visit:

Antiques Heaven in Brimfield, Massachusetts

For more than 50 years, the Brimfield Antiques show has been celebrated as America’s oldest outdoor antique market.  During a six-day period every May, July and September 150,000 antiques dealers and collectors from around the world flock to the central Massachusetts community to browse 6,000 showcases spread across 20 fields.  From Colonial to Mid-Century Modern, every design period is represented through furniture, collectibles, architectural salvage, jewelry, linens, lighting, found objects and more.


We began our adventure with Kate and Aimee from Yankee Magazine and Cindy from The Daily Basics on opening day at 7:30 a.m. The first dealer we met exclaimed, “You will do so much walking today that you will have to throw your shoes away.”  Many miles and several purchases later, I knew he was not exaggerating!!

For the 1811 Federal, we were searching for antique tiles to surround one of the six fireplaces.  As luck would have it, we found two antique tiles with a rose motif that will pair beautifully with our vintage tiles featuring Newport’s Trinity Church.

tile 2 tile

We also could not resist adding two more Van Briggle vases to our collection.


Brimfield belongs on everyone’s bucket list. The sights are awe inspiring.  The nostalgia tug is heartwarming. The food court is delicious.  The treasures are endless.  You have to experience this phenomena firsthand.  I hope to see you there when we return in September.

Enjoy some snapshots from the day:

2015-05-12 10.33.00 2015-05-12 11.19.10 2015-05-12 11.25.36 2015-05-12 11.31.06 2015-05-12 11.31.58 chandelier detail glass pottery pressed tin stained glass

Follow me at Brimfield on Tuesday, May 12.

This Little Light of Mom’s


In 1985 my mother organized a family vacation to Italy.  From Rome to Florence to Capri to Venice, every step of our journey was filled with pure wonder and amazement.  My mother was so very happy exploring Italy with all of us.  I’ll never forget how she fell in love with a crystal chandelier while touring the Murano Glass Factory on the island of Murano in the Veneto region.  She had exquisite taste and instinctively knew the chandelier would look perfect in her dining room. Before we knew it, she had purchased the fixture and was arranging for shipment back home to Massachusetts. Several weeks later, the chandelier arrived and Mom was right, it was perfect.  And every time we gathered for a special occasion I would glance up at the chandelier and think fondly back on our Italian adventure and Mom’s joie de vie.

Several years ago, my mother was diagnosed with bone cancer and our family started our long goodbye as she began treatment. With the inevitable event looming, my parents decided to downsize and divide their time between condos in Florida and Massachusetts.  In 2011, my mother lost her courageous battle and our lives have never been the same.

There have been so many times throughout this rejuvenation project when I’ve reached for the phone to call my mother and ask her advice about one design element or another. For those of you who’ve lost a parent, you know this habit or urge to call never goes away.

A couple of months ago, I awoke from a sound sleep and found myself thinking of my mother’s chandelier. I had not thought about that fixture for years. I called my father and asked him what ever became of Mom’s chandelier.  He was not sure and promised to search through some moving boxes stacked in the basement.  An hour later he called to say he found Mom’s chandelier and would give it to me to use in the 1811 Federal.  I guess I was not surprised that the chandelier was not included in the sale of their home…….my mother loved it that much!  I think she would be very pleased to know that her favorite fixture will now grace our home and serve as a reminder of all the qualities that made her so special.

Mom’s chandelier prompted us to look for other vintage or antique fixtures for the home. An internet search revealed an antique lighting dealer located in the South End of Boston.  We made an appointment to visit the showroom and to meet lighting expert Tom Powers.  The experience was magical.

Tom Peters

Tom has owned Genuine Antique Lighting ( the 1970s when he first became interested in restoring and selling antique and vintage light fixtures.  His 3,000 square-foot showroom and workshop are located in a 19th century brick building located in the historic South End of Boston. His inventory includes a collection of exquisitely restored chandeliers, pendant lights, flush mount lights, sconces, and exterior lanterns that originally distinguished some of the finest homes in the Boston area from 1870 to 1950. If you are not able to make an appointment to visit the showroom, then browse the company’s website that showcases detailed photographs and descriptions. Tom ships his lighting to customers all over the world and his inventory is constantly being refreshed with new treasures from yesteryear.


With Tom’s help, we selected a 1930 crystal chandelier to hang in the dining room not far from Mom’s chandelier that will hang above the kitchen island.  We also found an antique slag glass pendant for the foyer and an antique hobnail glass pendant for the master bedroom.



Now we are searching for antique sconces for the front parlor and a lantern for the front porch.  Stay tuned….

If you are in the market for period lighting it is important to work with experts.  Antique and vintage light fixtures in a variety of working condition and state of repair can be found in antique shops, flea markets, on eBay and Craigslist. Buying an antique light from these venues with its original wiring intact is like playing with fire.  Always buy antique lighting from an expert who has restored the fixture so the wiring complies with current safety codes.  And always have an electrician properly install the fixture in your home.

To read more about antique lighting visit:

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