Monthly Archives: December 2013

Wait… Wait… Wait…

The new year is almost here, and with it, new posts and projects at WarLock Manor!

Pearl WarLock, 4 Months OldAm I trying to distract you from our blogging lapse with a cute puppy? Maybe. Just look into those eyes and tell me it’s not working! Now you understand why we haven’t been getting anything done around here…

But I’m resolved. In 2014, make things. Make things happen.

 

 

WarLock Manor in Winter

I got two early Christmas gifts this morning!

WarLock Manor in Winter

Our first snow at WarLock Manor! Having now seen our little Tudor cottage dressed up in white, I’m convinced that a tiny, sparkly, light-up model (like this) would be the cutest holiday decoration ever. Time to get crafting!

Second, a romp in the snow with Pearl. Snow in Seattle is so rare (and usually so pathetic) that I thought of taking her to the mountains to be sure her first Winter was something special. So when I woke up this morning and saw our neighborhood blanketed with a respectable inch, I rousted Adam out of bed, bundled us up, and out we went. Absolute animal joy, just as I’d imagined. I’d love to share pictures, but a gleeful white puppy on white snow before sunrise is just a blur!

Fingers crossed that it lasts through the weekend- we have gallivanting to do. But even if it all turns to slush, it was the perfect morning for a girl in need of a bit of holiday magic.

Happy weekend, all!

 

 

Family Portrait: December 2013

Four months old, four teeth lost, and about forty pounds of fluff!

Pearl WarLock, 4 Months OldSo much change, set against the constancy of our brick house. Leaves turning colors, and then falling away. Extra layers. And of course, the dog who has doubled in size. I’m not sure which rate of growth is more incredible- Pearl’s, or the beard’s. Whoah there, mountain man.

 

See our previous family photos by clicking on the previews below…

Elizabeth, Adam & Pearl (October 2013, 2 Months Old) Pearl WarLock, 3 Months Old

Find: Pewter Bee Napkin Rings

I have a fondness for creatures. As my husband has learned through 8 years of walking by my side, we don’t get very far without meeting new friends. Dogs strain at their leashes, cats appear out of nowhere, squirrels and crows sit next to me on park benches. I like to catch snakes, rescue snails from the sidewalk, and share sandwiches with wasps. I’ve never been bitten or stung. It’s like they know.

This Snow White thing translates into decor too. It seems that furry, clawed, or winged things are always following me home…Pewter Honeybee Napkin Rings

Like the swarm of pewter bumblebees that found me at Pacific Galleries this weekend.Pewter Honeybee Napkin Rings + Dirilyte Goldware

Quirky, not too cute, and in a mix of metallics that complements the gold and silver already in my china cabinet. I can see these sweetening up all kinds of tablescapes, but I’m busily testing out place settings with a honeyed theme.

Bee-Themed Table SettingPewter Honeybee Napkin Rings + Gold Pressed GlassA charming addition to our tabletop menagerie- though not quite what I had in mind when I told Adam I wanted to keep bees.

 

THE CELLAR in Winter

There’s not much for a cidermaker to do in Winter. The apples have been picked, pulped, and pressed. The orchard sleeps. Watched carboys bubble so very slowly. The cidermaker fidgets and annoys his wife.

Spring Blossoms at the Agate OrchardSo, Adam is blogging the history of our orchard project, with enough pictures of trees in bloom and in fruit to carry us through the heavy inactivity of Winter into Spring. Today at THE CELLAR, he starts from the very beginning.

 

Bar Lights, Star Bright

One of my most beloved Craigslist finds is a petite mid century hutch, with a greige finish and brass details. It’s served us beautifully through the years, storing linens in our Seattle bungalow apartment, and then showcasing curiosities in Berkeley. When we moved into WarLock Manor, I gave it a very glamourous marbled back and transformed it into our bar cabinet.

As if the crystal didn’t sparkle enough, I added strings of starry lights for the holidays…Bar Cabinet and Sputnik Star Lights

Combining my Sputnik-era starburst and lucite obsessions with the astral theme I’ve established for the Living Room, these were a holiday gift-to-self from Pottery Barn. When I found a matching lit star ornament at Target, I didn’t hesitate to snag that too! They’ll twinkle through Christmas and light the way to 2014.
Martini Glasses and Sputnik Star LightsThe stars are on a battery-operated timer, set to light up right at cocktail hour and glow as we imbibe some holiday cheer.

Bar Cabinet and Sputnik Star Lights

Mixed drinks and spiky star lights- that’s how we do merry and bright at WarLock Manor!

Sputnik Star Light

A Bit of Holiday Cheer

I talked myself out of a Christmas tree, so I’m adding sprigs of greenery everywhere to make up for it. Tiny cypress topiaries, faux fir bedecking our four-post bed, and I may even torture the fiddle leaf fig with a few ornaments. In the Living Room, the simple cuttings that brightened my Thanksgiving tablescape are now livening up our mantle as a holiday garland.

Homemade Holiday Garland

I strung the stems together with wire, then wound them up with store-bought bead strands (one of the silliest purchases I’ve made in recent memory- half of the glitter is now embedded in my carpet). The garland is hung with removable adhesive hooks, disguised by bows of black satin ribbon. The whole project was easy-as-can-be, minus some feline and canine interference (“What’s that? I can bite it? What’s that? I can have it?”).

Coincidentally, it’s a lazy way to disguise the cord for the new lucite sconce!

Homemade Holiday GarlandI’m liking how the garland works here- adding a frame to the fireplace, referencing the shape of the lucite fixture. Symmetry… creativity… my whole brain is happy.

Best of all, the house is finally feeling more festive! Just in time, as we have friends gathering at WarLock Manor tonight to snip paper snowflakes and sip spiked cider- and that’s just the kind of holiday cheer I like best.

Let There Be [Brass & Lucite] Lighting

The title of this blog, All the Dark Rooms, is borrowed from a favorite poem. It also happens to be an accurate description of our 1928 Tudor as we found it. The house has minimal hardwired lighting (none at all in the Living Room, Study, or Dressing Room), and we moved in with only four working lamps. In my desperation, I rigged up bare bulb fixtures with ring stands and clamps. Those were dark days.

I’ve improved our situation somewhat with table lamps, but we need more, more, more! And more drama wouldn’t hurt either…

Brass & Lucite Chandelier (Thomas O'Brien for Visual Comfort)Thomas O’Brien Brass & Lucite Chandelier via Horchow

Supernova Chandelier

 Supernova Chandelier via 1stDibs

I may be dreaming too big for my little house with either of those statement chandeliers, but I just love the glamorous combination of brass and lucite. So when I saw a sconce on eBay, sized right and priced under $30.00, I bid to win.

But, as is often the case with impulse buys, I had no idea where to put it. So it lived in the basement for a few months, until I had an A-HA moment- it’s perfect for the odd alcove above the fireplace.

Brass & Lucite Sconce

The thrill of thrifting is two-part. There’s the find, and then there’s the finding out. I like to know as much as can be known about every vintage piece that we bring home: the who, where, and when, and (like any Antiques Roadshow devotee), what it’s worth.

So I did a little searching, and found a chandelier with identical lucite swoops and brass fittings.

Dorothy Thorpe Brass & Lucite ChandelierChandelier via 1stDibs

I’ve seen them being incorrectly attributed to Dorothy Thorpe and Charles Hollis Jones, but I believe these pieces were actually part of the Crylicord collection designed by Peter Hamburger for Knoll. The suite included chandeliers and hanging fixtures, task lamps, floor lamps, and wall sconces. I can’t find a match to my fixture, but I think I did well for $30.00.

So, no tv-worthy “I had no idea” valuation, but it’s certainly the dramatic change I was after for the Living Room!

It’s December, but…

… it still looks like Halloween around here.

Always Halloween at WarLock Manor...An unintentional vignette, and a photo taken just before the light shifted, taking the crow shadow with it. I think it’s time for another shift, away from dark and spooky, towards merry and bright. I tried to bah humbug my way out of Christmas decorating this year, but perhaps just a few sparkly things here and there… a strand of twinkle lights… maybe even a tiny tree…?