6/28/08

What The Ca d'Zan & Topsy Turvy Have in Common

The view from our room at the beach.

Topsy Turvy is taking a few days off, to spend some time at our favorite spot on Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island ... no computers allowed. I'm so ready.

When we go to the beach, it's for total relaxation, but we always have a few things in mind to do - if the mood strikes.
• I like to explore the shell shops for coral, sea fans, etc.
• My husband wants to cruise through Ringling College of Art & Design, his alma mater.
• Perhaps we'll have time for a visit to Sarasota Salvage, a favorite spot for architectural salvage and antiques.
• And we'll definitely have dinner at the highly recommended Beach Bistro, meeting up with friends and sharing a glass of wine on the beach at sunset.

On a previous trip, we visited the Cà d'Zan, the John & Mable Ringling mansion near the Ringling Museum of Art (which is just down the road from the beach).

In 1924, the circus czar and his wife commissioned NY architect, Dwight James Baum, to build this Venetian Gothic palace, on the waterfront in Sarasota.



The Ringlings held lavish parties with orchestras serenading guests, in the ballroom, on the terrace, and on the Ringling yacht moored just outside.

No ceiling surface is left un-coffered or unadorned. Elaborate carved details and painted designs like these are typical throughout.



In the bedroom, excessive ornamentation is restricted to the furniture.
There is a lot of gold on the ceiling trim and cornices, but this room seems serene compared to the rest of the house.

Along a path on the grounds of the mansion, banyan tree roots overtake a statue.


I count 5 different colors of marble tiles that make up this unusual pattern.

Steps lead down to Sarasota Bay.


Those steel casement doors and windows with multi-colored glass panes are quite unusual, and run around the entire house.
(The handsome guy in front is my husband, Tim.)



Sometime after our visit to Cà d'Zan, we discovered that Baum was, more than likely, the architect for our own home - which was built the same year that the mansion was completed, 1926. How cool is that! Of course, our house is just a bit more down to earth, but can you see the resemblance?

Topsy Turvy Headquarters

Baum and M. Leo Elliott were the architects for many of the original houses in Temple Terrace. Two of each of Baum's plans were built in the city. Our house's "twin", which is about 5 minutes away, was located last year by a local architect/friend Grant Rimbey.

Topsy Turvy Headquarters, 3/4 profile

We bought the house about 5 years ago, but haven't yet gotten to the landscaping. It was recommended that we complete any interior renovations first, which makes perfect sense.

So, we replaced sliders with french doors in the living room and in the master bedroom, and added covered porches that the doors open onto. As for the cottage out back - we added clay tiles to the roof and french doors in place of the garage doors, and some canvas awnings. But then there were a few unexpected expenses. The interior framing of the cottage had to be replaced in order to support the weight of the new clay tiles. And, the flat roofs on the main house leaked, so we had to replace those, twice. We had the house painted, and we lost a major tree, and lightning claimed part of another.

Topsy Turvy Headquarters, 3/4 profile, different angle

A rendering of our house was recently found (also by Grant) in a newspaper ad from the 20s, so now we know what the original facade looked like. In the 50s, the owner (and then-mayor of Temple Terrace), filled in two front arches, which were screened, and added the little entry stoop. We want to get rid of that little stoop, and open up the arches once again, and fill them with glass panes and doors (steel casement would be lovely) designed to fit the arches.

As for the landscape, we at least have names designated for different garden areas. Surely the actual gardens will follow. Our property includes 2 lots, and the area with the huge oak trees is what we call the Woodland Shade Garden. The sunny area in front is the Dewy Meadow. Behind the little notched wall with the arch (at the left end of the house as you look at the picture), is the Secret Garden. This name came about when I was clearing out overgrown ferns, and uncovered a buried stone path. And, in front of the cottage, I recently started, of course, the Cottage Garden with a small bed of roses and lavender.

All photos above by Topsy Turvy.



These are some of my inspiration gardens and landscapes.
Top 2 photos by Marion Brenner for C Magazine. Bottom right, Cindy Crawford's LA home.

Meantime, I feel a bit pained every time I drive up to our house and clearly see its unfulfilled potential. It usually exists in my mind's eye as it will eventually be - with all the lush mediterranean landscaping in place, splashing fountains, a lap pool in the back, stone walkways through lush plantings along the sides, and hidden leafy enclaves.
Can you see it too?
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6/20/08

A Visit to Chez Orleans -&- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Shopping in Paris

When the Open sign is on the door, design aficionados in Tampa know they'd better stop to see what's new ... because the great finds don't last long. But locals also know they are likely to find something special on just about any visit. Shop owner, the delightful and charming Carol Timberlake, keeps Chez Orleans stocked with great one-of-a-kind antiques, many personally hand-picked in France.

Click on any image for a larger view.

Carol first opened the store, Chez Orleans, (so-named because she lives on Orleans Ave. in Hyde Park) with the overflow furnishings from her home. Carol says her passion for decorating was passed on from her mother, and she tells how the two of them would often rearrange furniture for hours and then sit back with a glass of wine to admire their work. Having "a little bit of French in her" probably doesn't hurt either. She falls in love with certain pieces, but does not get so attached to "things" that she can't move them out to make room for new favorites.

The shop can look quite different from one week to the next, depending on what has sold, what's new, and how the space has been rearranged.


This delicate, gilded French lantern is the height of elegance.

Light gray molding adds a little élan to this cabinet. Chicken-wire inserts double the style quotient.

I think those urns and I were meant for each other!

Bamboo furniture, antler chandeliers and antique birdcages never go out of style.

A local artist creates shell pieces seen throughout the store, including sconces, accessories and these shell-topped bottles.


A wonderful Neptune sculpture, shell art, a shapely mirror frame, and an antique door.

The black and white tile subtly announces a transition to the outdoor garden space, seen through the glass door (with painted design) in the background. That painted shield-back chair with purple velvet upholstery - ooh-la-la!


A charming french wire table that is now gracing the patio (er, conference room) at Topsy Turvy headquarters! This mirror-backed lantern could be next. We're thinking it would be smashing in our 20s Spanish-style home.


A tented deck is the setting for garden furnishings, urns, statues, armillaries and fountains.

I love these rustic garden ornaments made from found objects.

A daybed piled with pillows and a pair of wing chairs help create a salon-style feeling in this room.


An artful mix of pillows.

All photos above by Topsy Turvy.

And now, come along with us for a taste of the ultimate shopping experience - browsing the antiques markets in Paris.
Carol has graciously agreed to share her advice with our design-obsessed readers ...

The Paris Flea Market
Le marché aux puces de Saint-Ouen
is something everyone should see, but you won't find many bargains here. It is open every weekend, Sat.-Mon.
-Stop at Le Bistro Paul Bert, close to the entrance, for fabulous food and great people watching.

Chatou market
Twice a year on an island in the Seine, dealers from all over France set up a tent city.
-To get there, take the RER line from Paris all the way to the end.
-This is where the insiders shop, including other dealers. Most sellers speak English, just don't expect them to be too responsive at lunchtime. At noon, they pull out tablecloth, candlebra and wine, and set up gourmet meals right in their tents. We love the French lifestyle!
-Allow a half day just to quickly get around to see everything, but if you really want to shop, plan on spending 2 days.

• Attic sales (Vide-Greniers)
Districts of Paris are assigned specific times of the year for attic sales, where everyone puts their unwanted goods out on the street for sale. You can find great deals, since pieces that are highly sought after in the US, are commonplace in many French homes. A computer search will tell you when they are scheduled for particular neighborhoods.

• Auctions
Carol recently discovered that the auctions are slow-paced and fairly easy to follow. Most don't have catalogs ... you go ahead of time to look at the merchandise.

• Shipping your items home
Shippers will take care of this for you, for a fee. You generally have to get the items to the shippers office, however. (Carol laughingly tells stories of toting chairs and mirrors on the subways.) She found a reputable company at the Paris Flea Market that works well with customers who don't speak French. This shipper is not the cheapest, but Carol considers it well worth the extra expense to know that her purchases will actually arrive. Anyone interested in more information, can contact Carol at the shop.

• Where to stay
Try franceforrent.com and live like a local in a beautiful Parisian apartment.

I think this one would do ...

Image from franceforrent.com

Or, I would love to stay in one of these rental apartments, which were decorated by California-based designer, Myra Hoefer. Ms. Hoefer's style is decidedly french, but not fussy, and her rooms exude a casual, comfortable elegance that seems quite livable and luxurious, all at once.

The Atelier, 1 BR in the heart of the Marais, is rustic, yet refined.

The Apartment, 1 BR in a charming 17th c building near the Place de Vosges, with floor-to-ceiling french doors and voluminous silk curtains.

{ Topsy Turvy says, if you're staying in Paris, it's no time to skimp! }
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Chez Orleans is a must-see if you're visiting Tampa.
Hours are Tues-Sat, 12-5, at 4237 West Bay to Bay Blvd., Tampa, 813.805.7323
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Coming next month: We'll be bringing you a virtual tour of Carol's gorgeous South Tampa home. You won't want to miss it!
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6/16/08

Lizzie Napoli illustrates Provence

Please click on any image for a larger view.


L'Isle sur la Sorgue, a city most famous for it's twice yearly antiques fairs.

While researching my last post on portraits of houses, I was reminded of a favorite illustrator, Lizzie Napoli. Her book, En Provence, is filled with charming scenes of village life and pastoral vistas throughout the south of France. I love her sketchy style with pen and ink, and restrained swashes of watercolor. She employs a wonderfully light hand, with marks and strokes that provide just enough information to delineate buildings, leafy plants and flowers, and wildlife. Her books (she has published several) are somewhat hard to get or expensive here in the US, so I thought I would share a few images.

Street scenes of St. Remy. I believe this view is not far from where we stayed at the charming b&b, La Maison du Village.

One of my favorite illustrations in the book, plants and flowers in the countryside.



Architectural details in Roussillon. Those doors - so beautiful!


Botanicals.


A view of Barbentane.
What information Lizzie chooses to leave out of her sketches is just as important as what she includes.


She lives in Paris and owns and summers in Provence in a tiny roulotte, or gypsy cart, decorated in bright colors with a curtain of beads and pale-pink scalloped awnings.


Perhaps Lizzie's roulotte is similar to these ...



Some are elegant with more traditional french interior decor ...





... while others feature a more exuberantly modern color palette with an eclectic bohemian vibe. Talk about decorating for a small space!




If you're planning a vacation in France and want to stay in a roulotte, try here.
Or, like Lizzie, why not purchase your very own here!


Images from
eclectic gipsyland, Les Verdines, and Jeanne Bayol via
All Things Bright & Beautiful and Hidden in France.

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Coming soon: A shop tour of Tampa favorite, Chez Orleans, including an interview with charming shop owner Carol Timberlake. You won't want to miss her tips for antiquing in Paris!
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