Thursday, April 24, 2014


Double Parlor of the Missouri Governors Mansion, Jefferson City,Mo.
  Some one recently said that my house reminded them of a French Whore House. Well, I for one have never been in a French Whore House or any Whore House, as far as that goes. I am sure, the Lady, well, woman, well idiot,who called my house a French Whore House, has never been in one either. As close as I have ever gotten to one was in the movies. The Chicken Ranch with Dolly Parton,Best Little Whore House in Texas. Belle's in Gone with the Wind. Remember when Dr. Meade's wife got so excited asking the doctor what it looked like. They had made up the story that they had gone to Belle's Whore House when Scarlet's husband was killed. I can hear her now," does it really have crystal chandeliers and red velvet curtains with a foot long fringe?" Of course they showed it in the movie and I have to admit, I liked it. Especially the big crystal peacock on the table. Well, in that case, maybe my house does look like a French Whore House. "What ever? " As the younger generation says."What ever?"

Robt. Campbell House Museum, St. Louis Missouri

Campbell house Museum, St. Louis,Mo. One of the most intact homes in America of the Ante Bellum period.

Campbell House.

 If in fact, my house does look like a French Whore House, there must have been a lot of other houses in the 19th century that looked like them also. I fashioned my house after the great homes of the middle to late 1800's in America. I have no pictures of what my house might have looked like. so I did what one would have called  an interpretive restoration. I did what I interpreted that the house might have looked like. I did this by studying other restorations of that period.

  There were several houses that I studied both from books and in person. I chose these houses for several reasons. One, they were of the same age, time period as my house. Two, they had some or all there original furniture and accessories intact. Some of the fabrics and wall paper had been exact reproductions from the originals. Three, They were award winning restorations of that period.

The Confederate White House, Richmond, Va.

Confederate White House. Restored with all original furniture and reproduction fabrics, carpets and wall covers of the originals

Confederate White House

   My house was started in 1845. It had a small addition in 1860. I chose that 1860 period for my house.  This is when the builder, Mr. Elgin. lived in the house as a family man and had the most money. Mr. Elgin was a river boat captain, so he had access to Ports of Call, like St.Louis and New Orleans. he had married a lady who had lots of money, land and slaves. So there was no reason he could not  have had the things  the Elgin/ Cottrell House has today and  look like it does today and have so many fine things inside.
     The homes of the Ante Bellum period, before the Civil War, that I studied and used as a pattern and inspiration for my house are:
    A.) The Missouri Governors Mansion. Restored and furnished to the 1871 period at a cost of over 11 million dollars. The mansion is one of the best examples of that time. The furniture is mostly not original to the house, but is original to that period. The wall paper and fabrics are also reproductions of the period. This is an award winning restoration. The Missouri Governors Mansion was built as a Governors home and is one of the few in the United States that has been used ever since as a Governors Home. The restoration has been called one of the finest of the period. No cost was  spared and the finest examples of furniture was found to fill it's rooms. Experts did research for reproduction wall paper and carpets of the period. It has been called one of the finest Governor mansions in the United States.

Rosalie, Natchez ,Mississippi. National Shrine of DAR


  B.) The Confederate White House in Richmond, Va. It became the White house in 1865. The mansion was built by some one else as a private home. When The Confederate States left the Union and elected there own president they needed a home for him and his family. This house had just been decorated to the latest styles and fashions of the 1865 period by it's original owner. The  house and the furniture was sold to the Confederates for one lump sum. The Jefferson Davis family moved in right way. I am sure that Mrs. Davis brought some of her own things and added original touches. When the war was over, the house was made into a museum and nothing was changed. Since then some of the fabrics and wall coverings have been reproduced from the original. But no better example of this period of history could be found anywhere.

Melrose Plantation, Natchez, Mississippi. Most intact Ante Bellum Home of the South

 C.) The Campbell House Museum in St. Louis. The Campbell house was built by another owner also in 1851. The Campbells bought it and moved in around 1854. They lived there for many years. After the parents died it became the home of two of there sons, who never married. After the death of the last son, the house was left to a University. It contained all the original everything inside. Including a lot of photos taken in 1940's. The house was left setting empty by the University for many years.Finally it was put up for sale and all the things inside were for sale as well. A group of St. Louis people got together and bought the house and all the furniture and things inside. It was soon after opened as a museum. It has also won all the awards and was restored at a cost of over 3 million dollars. Wall paper was reproduced as well as fabrics, curtains and  carpets. Photos were used to figure out furniture placements. The Cambells were very wealthy people. President and Mrs. Lincoln visited the home as well as other famous people. If ever you want to study a house of this period, this would be a good one. It is one of only a few restored homes with all the original things inside.
  D,) Melrose Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi. I visited Melrose when I was in college. At that time it was owned by descendants of the original builders. It was built in 1865 and today it is called one of the most intact Ante Bellum estates in the South. Since I last visited the home it has been sold to the State of Mississippi and they have since spent 10 million on it's restoration.All The furniture is original and the fabrics and wall coverings have been reproduced from the original. The house is complete down to the china and silverware, the clothing, papers and inventories of the accessories and slaves.

Rattle and Snap Plantation, won in a card game, Mt. Pleasant, Tn. 1860

Rattle and Snap.

  E.) Rosalie, The DAR National Shrine in Natchez, Mississippi. Rosalie was first built around 1823, but was added to and redone in 1953. The DAR ladies have restored the house to that 1853 period. Most of the furniture and accessories are original. Fabrics and wall coverings have been reproduced from originals. Rosalie is one of the grandest homes on the banks of the river ,high on the bluffs in Mississippi. It's colorful interiors have been copied for years and is a fine home to use as a model of that period. Restored at a cost of around 5 million dollars.
  F.Rattle and Snap Plantation. Mt Pleasant, TN. built in 1860. Rattle and Snap gets it's name from a game of cards. The story goes that the original owner was in a heated card game and bet the plantation. Well he lost and the new owner called it Rattle and Snap. In  books about  fine American homes and architecture , Rattle and Snap is always featured. It is of grand style and is fully restored today to it's original glory. The new owner recently spent a little over 3 million doing the restoration. The finest fabrics, trim and wall coverings of the period as well as furniture was purchased for the restoration. Rattle and Snap is a glory to behold.

My House, the 1845 Historic Elgin/Cottrell House, as appeared in  the national magazine, Victorian Homes. June 20012

My house from  Victorian Homes Magazine

  When I set out to restore the Elgin/Cottrell House in 2006, I went and studied all these houses in great detail. Most of them have books for sale so I bought them. I talked to some of the owners and some of the curators. I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of answers. Some of there reproduction wall covers were used in my restoration. I have to say, I had no millions to spend. I had no state government behind me or oil companies. I had to pay for the whole thing all by myself. I spent about 150 thousand and did most of the work myself. I learned to tuck point, plaster, wall paper, paint and marbleize. I did have a dear sister that sews beautifully and she helped with the curtains. I was lucky to have most of the beautiful furniture ,accessories ,rugs ,lamps, paintings and chandeliers. If I had to buy those, the cost  would have doubled.
  My home was featured three times in the national magazine, Victorian Homes. The editor at the time said my home was one of the best examples of it's period, done by an individual on a minor budget. Maybe it does look like a French Whore House. I don't know that answer. But I do know it looks good compared to the best of that period.
 Please come by some time for a real tour. I will always leave the lights on and Sissy Dog will meet you with a jump and a kiss. And I can promise you, there are no whores, French or American , here, but if there were, what a grand place to be.
My House taken by me today. French Whore House? Great American Ante Bellum  Restoration?


Thursday, April 10, 2014

I'm At it Again. There is no treatment, good!

I had these all packed away for safe keeping.
   I have two much time on my hands. I need to get a different hobby. I just can't help myself. What am I supposed to do? These are the statements that I make over and over, when it comes to my antique addiction. And they are all so true.
  Actually most of this newest collection, must have, addiction, has been always setting around. I have just now thought I should man up, build onto and move forward with it.

This one is called,"Luster." Very  had to get the picture right.

   What the HELL am I talking about? My newest collection in the antique world. Hand painted china fruit bowls.These bowls were very popular in Victorian society as wedding gifts. They could be purchased for a small amount and made a very beautiful gift. All homes had a list one. And most of the home makers never used them. They are too nice!!!! They were usually in a prime spot in a china cabinet and there owners were very proud of them. Some home owners kept them locked away, packed to the gills, hoping to keep them from getting chipped or broken. I am glad they felt that way about them as it has preserved them for my generation.
   These bowls are really not, for the most part, hand painted. Most of them are DECALS or TRANSFERS. The trim of the bowl was usually hand painted and some times dew drops and shadows were added by hand after the decal was applied. Gold trim was always done by hand. There were many styles of what you would call blanks. These were made by different companies and each company had there own patterns and trademarks. Decals were designed by artist and sold to companies who transferred them to decals. These bowls were made in many countries, such as, Germany, France, Austria and Prussia . Some were marked on the back,  but many were not. Some of the decals had the artist name on them and that makes them a little more desirable. The RS Prussia ones are usually the most sought after and can be the most pricey. Many years ago when I was a youngin, these bowls could bring a pretty penny. Today they are not thought of as being that valuable and most young people today could care less. I have never bought a bowl because of it's  marking, as much as I have because of it's beauty. There are other collectors that buy only because of the maker.

This one was my Daddy's favorite. It is pretty special.

Another one of my Daddy's. It is so delicate.

One of my favorites. My Daddy found this one also.

   My father had an antique shop many years ago. It was a shock to all of my family. None of knew he even liked dusty old things. One thing he really liked was these hand painted bowls. He used to go to farm auctions and search them out and fight over them with the next bidder. My father never liked to loose, so sometimes he would go overboard to win. I remember when he closed the shop he brought a few of these bowls home with them. They were placed into the china cabinet, for safe keeping, just like most others did. I kept my eyes on them for years. My mother and father divorced after 50 years of marriage. The bowls stayed behind when he left. When my mother died, I asked for them and no one else cared, so they came home with me.

This is one of Ora Bell's, RS Prussia.

Another of Ora Bells. I bought these two for the color, thinking they would go in the dining room. But there is no place to display them.

   I had a dear lady friend. I grew up around her and her children were my age. We went to school together. Ora Bell loved antiques. Maybe that is where some of my collecting comes from. She loved hand painted bowls, especially the RS Prussia ones. She had many, many, many. She also like  white marble top furniture. We used to race to see who had more marble top tables. Ora  Bell never won, really, but I told her a few days before she died that she had passed me up. When she died her two sons asked me to help sale her things. I was thrilled and had a very successful estate sale. I had sold many of these items to Ora Bell from my antique shop. I wanted something to remember her by, sold I bought two of the bowls. Like every body else I took them home and put them in a safe place in the china cabinet.

This beauty has been in the shop for weeks. When I got this latest craz, I brought it home. Glad it was just hanging around.

This beauty was also in the shop. I brought it home last Christmas. Needed something to put strawberries in for a party. It some how never made it's way back into inventory. I guess that is OK, I know the owner!!!!

  When I go to auctions or antique shops today I can not help but be drawn to the hand painted china. Especially the big fruit bowls. If the price is reasonable I usually have to buy it. I put them in the shop and sometimes they even sale. Usually, however, I end up bringing them home. I love them if no one else does.

  These bowls are getting harder and harder to find. I looked on EBAY yesterday and only found a few. The price ranged from $25.00 to $125.00. I was just looking. I usually only strike if the price is really right. The last one I bought at auction sold for $15.00. It seems that the lovers of beautiful old things grows smaller every year.

Don't ya just love these sweet little cabbage roses??

Goose Berries, very rare.No body can have it now.

   I have a plan for my bowl collection. I pulled  these all out the other night. There is a built in shelf in my bed room that could hold something. Who's to say, you can't put hand painted bowls in a bed room? Not me. I need 15, I found 7 just setting around. What will the next one be? Where will it come from? That is the rest of this story. Stay turned for chapter two.

Look at the detail, peach seed and blackberry.

Come by any time for a tour. I always have lights on and Sissy is always at the door with a jump and a kiss. Richard

   PS, Don't tell the rest of my family. They don't understand, but my Daddy did!

Somebody is trying to help me with my habit. They just walked in the door and wanted to sell these. Maybe the add I posted yesterday on Buy Sale and Trade on Facebook had nothing to do with it. make that 9, 6 more to go. Then what????

And your little dog too!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Latest Inspiration

I don't know what has come over me. I have a new collection. It was by accident. Will post more latter. I might need professional help. What do you think? Richard

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Birthday Party was a big success.

Judy, the birthday girl with her cake.

Last night was the Dinner Club Birthday Party at. My Old Historic House. It was a beautiful day. I had to go on a business trip, my friend Nancy and I, left at 6 that morning. She came to the party latter that night. We got back at 3 in the afternoon. I had 12 guest coming at 6:00. I had to scramble. I  had every thing under control, so I thought. I tipped one quiche a little too much putting it into the oven and out it ran, onto the hot oven, making a nice brunt smell. So is life. When I tried to clean it up, I brunt my hand. Not bad, but made it a little hard to do the rest. Being a nervous mess, I kept looking in the oven and testing the quiche, slowing the baking process. They finally did get done and we were able to eat.

I had shut the dining room door and kept my table surprise. When I got the candles lite, water and tea glasses full, I dimmed the chandelier and welcomed my guest.

I had a plumber come the day before the party with a drain problem. When he saw the table, he said, " who's coming to dinner, the Queen of England?" I knew I must have gotten it right.

I forgot to mention the most exciting thing that happened the day before the party. A flower delivery truck pulled up to my shop and brought in this huge, beautiful bundle of flowers. I just thought they were bringing them in because who ever they were for was not at home. They often do that and leave a note. WELL, they were for me. Little ol' me.I worked in a flower shop for years, love flowers, but never have had any sent to me by delivery. What a wonderful surprise. They were from one of my Dearest Blog Friends. She has been a friend of my blog, as well as I of hers, since I started a few years ago. If you have not been by her bog, I would urge you to do it today. I have watched as she has put together her new home from the beginning. She is very talented and amazing. Her blog is. DIVINE THEATER. I still can not believe she sent me all these beautiful jonquils and lilies. They made my table and house so special. It was the crown on my party. Kisses Dear One!!!!!

I made my special cake for the birthday girl. It was a big hit. It is always a favorite. Looks  as good as it taste, There was a slice left and I had it for breakfast. Breakfast of champions. Right?

I went to bed at 12 last night, there was nothing left, I had to stop. I got the worst of the dishes washed and they are all stacked on the kitchen island. I can put them away in the next few days. After all took several days to get them all out. As my old age creeps upon me, these events become harder  and harder. But what would live be with out them? In this day and age where it is much easier and cheaper, to go out that have a party at home, I am glad I am doing my part to help keep the beauty of an elegant party alive and well. After all, what's the use of having a beautiful home if you do not share it.

I hope you enjoyed the party  as much as my other guest did. Please come sometime for a tour, I will always leave the lights on and Sissy is always at the door with a jump and a kiss. You know she was at the party last night, I let her go into the parlor and greet every one and then she went back to her chair in the kitchen, what a perfect little girl. She did sneak under the table, by me, when we were eating. Of course, she got a bite or two handed down. Why not? She was a good girl.