Monday, February 17, 2014


Beyond revolutionary
Today is President's Day. Actually,
278 years ago, George Washington
was born on February 17th. Maybe
that's why I feel very colonial today.
That's something my Mother would
appreciate given Ethel was a rabid
colonialist. While certainly proud
of her deep roots linking us back to
the Mayflower, DAR, Society of
The Cincinnati, and of course The
Colonial Dames, lineage had little
to do with it. Rather, Ethel simply
adored anything "early American".
Past imperfect
Mother wasn't alone. Most of Ethel's
generation decorated in two extremes.
Either radically modern or sedately
traditional. Many found living within
a glass box made a statement about
who they were. However many others
including my dear parents felt that a
historical connection communicated
breeding and culture. Looking back,
both had their merits. Mid Century
modern is now all the rage however
I hope that maple dry sinks filled with
plastic ivy never regain popularity.
Rose colored glasses
Certainly there were many elements to
this blast from the past. None of which
truly had any actual link with any thing
even faintly connected to our colonial
heritage. One popular decorative touch
were glass shelves built into a window
and then filled with colored glass. As a
child I spent hours admiring those hues
as the sun shone through our living room
window. I can still hear the clink of them
being cleaned weekly. Ethel insisted that
every single one be taken down, wiped
down, and returned to it's EXACT spot.
Restorative powers
Ultimately Mother's addiction led her
to retire in Colonial Williamsburg. It's
charming streets and gardens were a
veritable Disney Land for this lover
of all things revolutionary. The Craft
House Collection became Mother's
mecca. Hence our decor was directly
linked to some room or item within
the restoration. We dutifully swaged
with jabots and limited our palette to
official tones from Pratt & Lambert.
Not only "tasteful" our decor subtly
reinforced Ethel's link with the past.
Home sweet home
Recently I stopped by the Spring
Antiques Show at the Armory.
As I strolled the aisles of historic
artifacts, I couldn't help but feel
at home. While my personal style
has evolved well beyond colonial
Americana, I still appreciate the
odd hooked rug, weather vane,
or gilded eagle. While most of us
rebel against whatever we were
raised with, an occasional blast
from our past brings one "home"
and somehow warms the heart.