A warm greeting on this January day!I hope you are enjoying a wonderful start to 2019.

I have settled into a routine of working from my design studio at home. I do love my new flexible schedule, and uniform of cozy flannel plus fuzzy slippers (on days that I’m not meeting with clients, of course 😉). I do, however, miss the social part of a retail shop – things like friends and clients dropping by for a quick browse and even those random chitchats with the mail carrier. It’s been an adjustment not having a store!

In case you didn’t know, Tom and I have closed Tone on Tone in Bethesda, Maryland. We still have our antiques booth at the York Antiques Gallery in York, Maine.

My mornings now are usually spent in the studio and, after lunch, I’ll pop into the recently completed potting shed to dote on my topiaries. Speaking of that, let’s take a tour of the shed, which I sometimes refer to as the topiary house. Click on photos to enlarge.

Here is the architect’s 1928 sketch of our cottage. This gives a good birds-eye view of the property – house, garage and courtyard. Thankfully, nothing major has changed in the 90+ years except that the enchanting parterre garden in the courtyard was replaced long ago by a flagstone terrace. Because our cottage is rather small at 1,600 sq ft, I don’t mind having this walled terrace as an additional (outdoor) room. It does make a charming, private space that’s fabulous for entertaining from May to October.We recently converted the garage into my design studio, and also built a new 11′ x 18′ (exterior footprint) potting shed at the end of the courtyard, centered on the entry gate. The idea is to have a compound, like a teeny-tiny country village, with different places for different purposes. It’s fun going from building to building.


designed the shed to complement the existing architecture, but not to copy or compete. Finding that right slate palette to match the house and studio’s roofs proved impossible, so I chose copper
with standing seams. The custom stucco finish is identical on the three
buildings, and all windows have a similar exterior bronze color.
Notice the lantern’s scrolled iron brackets – I wanted to pay tribute to our gate’s arch with this light fixture. See below.

Let’s get out of the cold…come inside, please! Even though the space isn’t palatial, there is a lightness and feeling of openness thanks to the skylights, oversized windows, and lofty pitched ceiling. A pair of closets flank a wall of floating shelves over a base cabinet painted in gray. Flagstone flooring gives the room a garden spirit, while tying it to the courtyard directly outside.


One of my favorite elements is the stainless steel, which brings a utilitarian sensibility to this workspace. A huge thanks to Cheney Millwork in Beltsville, Maryland for fabricating the stainless steel shelves as well as the countertop. They did a perfect job. The finish is smooth, durable and flawless! See more of their work here. Also, check out their Instagram page @cheneymillwork .


These polished steel pulls and knobs, with their industrial vibe, look just right paired with the stainless surfaces.

A couple overall views. You can see a corner of the heating / air conditioning unit in the above photo (top left). Behind the painted lantern is an air exchange unit for circulation. BTW, I’m thrilled to finally find a spot for this antique French orchard ladder.


Now for the fun part: moving in! My collection of old terra cotta pots has found a new home. I’ve been busy sorting, cleaning and getting them ready for spring planting. Antique trugs along with baskets hold garden necessities such as jute twines, plant markers, pruning shears, etc.

I love the weathered patina contrasting against the silvery shelves!

A woven linen towel from Sweden hangs ready to dry wet hands. Both the tole hook and miniature giltwood frame came from antiques dealer Melissa Alden at the York Antiques Gallery. Pop over to Melissa’s Instagram page @m.aldenportcity .

Every gardener needs a calendar. I look forward to planning this season’s schedule very soon.

Who can resist this vintage stone squirrel? She’s found a spot near the myrtle topes.

And here they are! 🌳🌳🌳 Everyone is happy so far. There are more topiaries on the other side. I also have a few inside our home.
Snow might have been falling outside our cottage in sub-zero temps, but inside, it’s warm and cozy for us and the topiaries.
PS – Don’t miss my next post on the studio!