Upstate House magazine interviewed me a couple of weeks ago. We discussed the blog, my cookbook, and the 190-year-old house that I share with a beagle, two cats, and a Silver Fox.
The Silver Fox in question? My spouse.
Of particular interest to the magazine’s free-lance writer, Niva Dorell, was the Music Room. Why? Well, because several years ago, this very ornate, very Victorian wing of the house — it was built as a double parlor — was in danger of collapsing. Niva felt the restoration of the room would make a good “hook” for the article.
Upstate House scheduled a photo-shoot for Tuesday, June 28. Consequently, on Monday I dropped $114.00 on fresh, locally-grown cut flowers. These were turned into Victorian-type displays by Sue Chiafullo. Sue is a dear friend and a masterful floral arranger. She produced three lavish subjects for the music room, and one for the entrance hall. We both felt confident that the flowers would be fresh and wonderful when the photographer arrived the following morning.
And then the inevitable happened.
About five minutes after Sue finished her arranging-job, I received an email from the photographer. She was ill, and had to cancel the shoot until the following week. I wished her a speedy recovery. And then I cringed, because…well, I’d spent $114.00 on flowers, and Sue had gone to the trouble of arranging them.
With a certain degree of guilt, I wrote to the magazine and asked if they could possibly find another photographer to manage the shoot. And to my surprise and delight, they delivered!
Say hello to Jesse Turnquist, photographer extraordinaire! Jesse set up special lights, and proceeded to take about 100 photos of the room. Far more challenging were the photographs that Jesse took of me. Honestly, I could hear his camera’s shutter shudder.
Now, I don’t know if the flower arrangements will appear in the Upstate House article. So I decided to photograph them just for you! Here goes:
Entrance Hall. For the cast-iron urn that sits on my green-draped table, Sue arranged branches of smoke bush (hint: try using this feathery Cotinus in your own arrangements), plus Physocarpus, tall dahlias in shades of red and vermillion, and chocolate-red roses. I added ferns to the base of the sculpture. Rearranging the tablecloth is Camille the Curious Cat.
Music Room. Arranged in a silver ice bucket, and placed on a Victorian music cabinet, are sweet peas in white, purple, and lavendar. Asparagus fronds, clipped from my kitchen garden, provide an airy green background. How I wish you could smell this display. Sweet peas are so-named for their gorgeous perfume.
Music Room Mantel. Here, Sue created two matching displays of sweet peas and blue Larkspur. Hosta leaves from my garden provide bright green contrast.
Parlor. Sue didn’t use the big bunch of Saponaria that was included in my flower purchase. Thus I stuck the pink lot in a white pitcher, and placed it on a Federal table in the green-and-cream parlor. The flowers really brighten the room!
I don’t know how to conclude this post, so let me just say that if you’d like to make Downton Abby-esque flower arrangements for your own home, you’ll find lots of tips and tricks on this here website. Have a look:
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