Monday, March 5, 2018

Ballyfin Hotel


Available now on Amazon Prime is Ballyfin: Portrait of an Irish Country House.  A 54 minutes film about the rise,fall and rebirth of the historical and breath taking Ballyfin Estate.  

The 19th century Neo-classical architecture was built in the 1820 for Sir Charles Henry Coote, 9th Baronet.  Irish architect Richard Morrison and his son William designed this Regency mansion .


After a lengthy restoration the property has become a 5 star hotel.  It opened in 2011.

Salon Reception Room

Sir Christopher Coote Suite

Wellesley-Pole Suite

There are only 20 bedrooms on the property. Each has its own character.

Lady Caroline Coot Suite

Check out this wallpaper.  You will learn from the documentary that it is a trumpe l'oeil paper that creates the illusion of hanging fabric.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

6 on 6TH Avenue Annual Progressive Wine and Dinner Party

Saturday was our block's 5th annual 6 on 6 neighborhood fundraiser progressive dinner.  Each year, 6 homes on our street sign up to host a dinner course paired with a glass of wine,champagne or cocktail for 20 guests.  Appetizer,Salad,Soup,Entree,Cheeses then Dessert.    This year, we asked to serve the 5th course, Fromage.

We set up our table in the blue and white family room.  I used my favorite Hydrangea flowers for the centerpiece.  My original idea was to include the large foo dogs shown in this picture.

My two favorite and white chinoiserie with foo dogs.  Always a hit!  I mixed our blue and white salad plates with our white(shown below)plates.  I also mixed a few  pattern forks including my newly coveted blue and white pagoda flatware from the Enchanted Home.

To create my Hydrangea arrangement, I purchased 45 Hydrangeas and a large 12" diameter floral foam sphere from my local floral wholesaler, Flora Fresh Inc.

I soaked the foam ball for about 15 minutes.  It was very heavy.  In fact, I had to have papa Dan help me place the foam on top of the vase, and transport the entire arrangement from the kitchen to the family room table. 

Once the centerpiece for the fromage table was completed, it was time to start on the living room's mantle and coffee table arrangements.

Unfortunately, I got carried away and overlooked saving enough space for the several cheese trays papa Dan had prepared.  The dilemma could have been resolved by adding the 2 leaves for the table.  However, after knowing the weight of the centerpiece and how scary it was to get it on the table, I decided it would be a lot less stressful and work to just eliminate the foo dogs.

Finally, the table is ready for our guests.   The first course started at 6pm.  Guests were expected to arrive between 8:45pm-9pm.   We had a pianist play French classics including songs by Edith Piaf.

We had a pianist play French classics including songs by Edith Piaf.

Guests finally arrived at 9:00pm ready for a variety of fromages and of course more wine!
 Below are photos sent to me from our co-hosts of some of their appetizers and wines served.

House #1

House #2

House #3

House #4

House #6

I will be joining the "Share Your Style" bloggers party for their #156 celebration.  Please visit The Vintage Nest and join the party for more wonderful and creative decorating ideas.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Noël au Vieux-Québec City

Bon Annee!!!  Look no further then Quebec City to fulfill your dream of a storybook Christmas come to life.  Festive holiday trappings are everywhere. Trees, wreaths, garlands and lights festoon the entire historic district.  The smell of chestnuts roasting at the Christmas markets.  Carollers singing popular holiday classics throughout the city.   A magical experience.

We were fortunate enough to spend 6 glorious nights celebrating Christmas 2017.  We stayed at the historic Fairmont Chateau Frontenac.  Our room was tucked away under the eaves and offered traditional decor with one bedroom and a sitting area.  From this 7th floor vantage point we had views of the St. Lawrence river from every window..  

Fairmont Chateau Frontenac

The hotel is on the site of the Chateau Haldimand, built between 1784-86 as the residence of the colonial government of the province of Quebec.  Later, Laval university occupied part of the property until 1892, when demolition began to make way for Chateau Frontenac.

Front entrance lobby(photo courtesy of Fairmont)

Front entrance lobby facing guestroom elevators on the left and front desk further down on left.(photo courtesy of Fairmont)

Lobby corridor leading to hotel shops and restaurants

7th floor suite
Like I did for our room in Montreal, I arranged for a pre-lit tree for our room to surprise Papa Dan and Daniel.  But, the gig was up...they were betting each other ahead  of time that a tree was waiting for us in Quebec City too.

Suite sitting room
I really loved that we managed get a traditional style room instead of one of the recently renovated rooms. The hotel is going toward muted grays and modern minimalist decor.   The fact that our room was in the  roof line really added to the ambiance with its dormer windows and angled ceilings.

Suite Bedroom

Christmas Eve treats
Opening Stocking on Christmas Eve

Waking up Christmas Morning

Room Service for Christmas Day Breakfast

A visit from one of Santa's Elves bearing the last special gift drop off

Opening gifts Christmas Day

Toasting another memorable Christmas celebration!

Day stroll through the Rue du Petit-Champlain District

Quebec City's current population is approximately 531,900.  It is the capital city of the Canadian province of Quebec.  It was founded by Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer and diplomat in 1608.

 It is one of the oldest European settlements in North America.  The fortified walls surrounding Old Quebec are the only of its kind that remains in the Americas north of Mexico which is why in 1985 UNESCO certified the city a " World Heritage Site" as the Historic District of Old Quebec.

Rue de Petit Champlain District at night

Place Royale

Christmas Market Old Quebec(Photo from

Christmas Market Old Quebec(Photo from
Streets of Old Quebec

Hotel-de-Ville(City Hall)

Cathedral Basilica of Notre Dame Quebec

Chateau Frontenac

Au 1884 Toboggan Slide

Place D'Youville Skating Rink
Siberia Station Spa

Aux Anciens Canadiens

Champlain Restaurant
A great Christmas holiday in Quebec City!  Next, we take the train back to Montreal to bring in the New Year!