Tone-On-Tone-On-The-Move

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image I’m slightly obsessed with this tall, handsome and elegant man named Loi Thai and his store Tone on Tone.   Thai and his partner Thomas Troeschel own the ultra chic antiques shop in Bethesda where everything is light and airy, gray and white, Swedish and French, divine and heavenly!  Oh, to live in Maryland, I would haunt this place until they would have to call the police to have me removed for loitering.   But since I don’t live anywhere near there, I have to be content with their fabulous web site, which is updated weekly with the best of their inventory – drool worthy for sure.  And then, there are their houses.   Last year Traditional Home showcased the house that Thai had lived in for years and recently had totally remodeled.  The pictures showed up all over the blogosphere and for good reason.  So imagine my sheer delight, and slight shock, when my bestie blogger friend, Things That Inspire (who has been turning out the best on the blog lately) told me that Thai’s NEWEST house was on the Washington Post web site.  After a brief conversation over who was going to blog about it, because of course I was salivating all over the story, TTI most graciously said she wasn’t going to write about it – I could have it.   That’s what friends are for.  Keep smiling.   I owe you one, TTI!   So, to refresh your memory, let’s look first at the house that Thai had lived in since 1996, then recently totally remodeled.   Then, we’ll look at his newest house – and you can decide which one you prefer.  Before or After?

 

 

 

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The early 1900s Edwardian townhouse in Washington D.C. was just a short 5 minute drive to Tone on Tone in Bethesda.  The couple moved in in 1996, lived with its dark woodwork and floors until 2002 when they began a major overhaul of the townhouse.  I love that lantern on the front porch.

 

 

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Everything was stripped down to the basics.  Moldings were removed and all was painted white or gray or a combination of the two – tone on tone.  The floors were treated to a whitewash paint treatment used mostly in Sweden and Europe.   A large mirror and the Swedish Mora clock are the main attractions in the entry hall.  

 

 

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A “before” picture – hard to imagine the couple lived with such dark woods for so long!   

 

 

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A 19th century Swedish secretary becomes a focal point.   The green is picked up in the porcelains and the 17th century Dutch botanicals.  This picture may be one of my favorite vignettes photographed last year!  Just stunningly beautiful and perfect in its symmetry   Love it!!!!!!!

 

 

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The living room is pale green and gray.  The green painted mirror is fabulous – as are the sconces flanking it.    I really love the wire basket underneath the coffee table – the hint of industrial is a nice mix.

 

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A large view showing the cream and khaki striped linen slipcovered armchairs.  Notice the Swedish desk and chair in the library next door.   Inset is another “before” picture. 

 

 

 

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Another view of the library – between the living room and the dining room.    The chair is antique Swedish from Tone on Tone – as are all the antiques.

 

 

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The dining room has antique Swedish chairs and a redesigned fireplace with limestone tiles.   I love the curtains and the white column pedestal – so Swedish – usually there would be a white bust on such a pedestal.  

 

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The kitchen was completely redone with new cabinetry, though the hardware was replated in nickel.  The tile floor was replaced with limestone pavers.  The kitchen was expanded to make more room for the breakfast room.

 

 

 

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The master bedroom with an Italian mirror and new limestone tiled fireplace. 

 

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The sleeping porch became the master bathroom with apricot tile – a colorful surprise in the mostly white and gray house. 

 

So, last September – after being featured in Traditional Home -  you would think that Thai and his partner would be happily settled their remodeled house forever, right?  Well, two months after the remodeling was completed, Thai spotted this unusual for the neighborhood,  1916 Mediterranean stucco house with a green glazed tiled roof and large wraparound porch.   Besides all that, the French doors and the house’s location on top a small hill,  privately set back from the street, sealed the deal.   Thai and his partner immediately bought the house and spent the next 18 months taking it down to the studs and totally reconfiguring its layout to suit their lifestyle.   Four bedrooms became two, a large addition was added to the back to incorporate a new dining room, kitchen, sitting room and a much needed mud room for their two dogs.   Additionally the front door was moved from the center of the house to the left side and a large terrace was added for them to enjoy the back yard. 

 

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New House:  The green glazed tiles and Mediterranean style attracted Loi Thai to the house, just two short months after a long exhausting remodeling of his previous house was completed.   The roof is very beautiful, isn’t it?  And I love the white stucco. Which facade do you like better?  This one or the other one:

 

 

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Former House:  The new house does seem more sophisticated doesn’t it?  And it does somehow seem more suited for pale, Swedish antiques.    OK, I can understand why Thai was drawn to it.

 

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New Entry Hall:    The entry hall – a new addition – surrounded by windows and a skylight.     Is it prettier than their first house?

 

 

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Former Entry Hall:  it doesn’t seem fair to compare the two entry halls – the older one is prettier with all the antiques and the staircase.  I’ll wait before I pass judgment!

 

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New Living Room:   Thai used all the same furniture which is wonderful – the furnishings are what I really loved about the house in the first place.  This is very beautiful – the softly winding staircase with sisal – notice the beautiful iron handrail.  The large French doors overlooking the front porch.  Yes, this is prettier, I think, than the first house – but not much!  Both places actually look beautiful to me.  I’m beginning to think the privacy of the yard was a big selling point.

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Across from the sofa is the Gustavian secretary with the birds and an antique clock which replaces the botanicals.   Isn’t Thai the most graceful, elegant man?!!!  He “fits” so well into this house!    Notice the two Swedish chairs that were in the library are now flanking the secretary.   Hmmm.  This living room seems more sophisticated than the previous house – was that the attraction?

Which living room do you prefer – the new one or the former one:

 

 

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Former Living Room:    Hmmmm.  Hard to say.   I think I prefer the new one.  I like the French doors leading outside.   It seems more chic, larger and more open to the outdoors, which I like.  

 

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New Dining Room:  The white column with a wire urn atop it now.  The gray silk curtains made the move.   Notice the beautiful column on the left that divides the dining room.   Cute dog too!!!!

 

 

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The new dining room with French doors leading to the back yard.   Love, love, love!   Notice the gorgeous console and mirror and the wonderful antique chairs.   The picture above this one shows the left side of the dining room with the curtains and a Swedish day bed.    Just beautiful!   

 

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The Former Dining Room:   This is REALLY getting hard!!!!!!!!!!!  I love these Swedish chairs too and this is a different table.   I love the windows and curtains.   And the fireplace – the old dining room might be prettier!!  Do you agree?    Well, don’t listen to me, because I am conflicted.

 

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The New Kitchen:   The new kitchen is all Carrara marble.  Love that Swedish cabinet on the left.  And those green industrial lights are fabulous.  Thai mixed high and low – the chairs are from Crate and Barrel and the hardware came from Expo!  I love this passage from the Washington Post interview with Thai about the Carrara marble:  

"It's not for everyone, especially if you're worried about staining, because it's porous. But because we like things like that, things that are not perfect so we can put our own marks on it, we don't mind," he says while fastidiously wiping part of the countertop that appears spotless. "We're not there yet," he says with a laugh. "Give us six months."

The kitchen is no contest.  The new one wins, hands down. 

 

 

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The Former Kitchen:   No contest in my opinion.   You may disagree!

 

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New Breakfast Room:    In the breakfast room – Thai mixes Target white dishes with antique creamware – a man after my own heart.

 

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New Guest Room:    With it’s corner Swedish cabinet and mercury glass, the room is so pretty.  The desk chair came from Ikea!    Wow!  Isn’t this beautiful?  Again, this room wins over the first house – though I do like the fireplace in the other house.

 

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The Former Master Bedroom:    Who knows?  This might be prettier if we could see more of it.  It could be a draw, I guess!

 

 

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The New Mud Room:   Thai’s favorite part of the new house – the wood beamed mud room where the dogs get cleaned up and fed.  This is so charming.

 

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The linen closet in the new house – are you surprised?   Thai seems very fastidious to me, so this neat-as-a-pin area is what I would expect.   Doesn’t he seem like an perfectly organized person?   OK – time to judge, which is it? 

The older house with the more traditional interior, smaller rooms, higher ceilings, and a front porch?

Or the newer house with the more updated interior, unique staircase, larger kitchen, mudroom, and a wrap around porch?

I vote for the new house myself.  I want to make Loi Thai happy and I think that is what he would want me to say!  In truth, both houses are gorgeous and I would be happy in either one! 

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Tone On Tone has a wonderful web site that is updated weekly.  They also have a large Press section if you want to read all about the store and its owners.  Go here to read it.  Below are a few things I saw that I am lusting after:

 

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19th century wall cupboard with green paint.  Love this – want this!

 

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Swedish clock cabinet – one day, one day!!!!

 

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Vignette from Tone On Tone – don’t make me choose!  The painting and statue look  good enough, but that day bed – to die for!

 

 

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French baker’s table – just like Lauren Ross’ – what a great side or coffee table!

 

 

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Thai’s eye is incredible.  There is not a stinker in the bunch.  Just look at trumeau – it’s gorgeous. 

 

 

 

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Wrap up all four pieces, I’ll carry them out myself!

 

 

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When I ever get my library, the first thing I want is a French library ladder – just like this.   Not sure what those balls are??

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning all about Loi Thai and his fabulous houses and shop.   I’m currently obsessed with the man and his taste which I think is superb and totally unique.   I can’t wait until they move yet again – I’ll keep you posted!

To read the original story by Terri Sapienza in the Washington Post, go here.   And there also is a fabulous side story with very interesting tips about decorating from Thai – including paint colors.  A must read here!!!!  Photography of the new house by Gordon Beall.   Photographs of the older house by Erik Johnson. 

Fabrics and Writers Live

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Home of Robert Kime, owner of one of the most exclusive fabric houses.

While I love Robert Kime fabrics, the most I can afford is maybe, hear that, maybe, one pillow made out of his fabrics.  They are so expensive, but so wonderful!  Why are the best things in design always too expensive?    Join Linda, Megan and me as we discuss fabrics on The Skirted Roundtable.  We get much more specific about the fabrics we love this week.   And for bloggers – this week we discuss blogging platforms – the pros and cons of Writer Live, Blogger, etc.

To listen, please go here.

AND AND AND – big announcement!!!    Next week we have  the mega talented Anna Spiro of Absolutely Beautiful Things in the hot seat all the way from Australia!  If everything works out with Skype – expect to hear from the fabulous Anna whose love of all things bright pink is legendary.  We are so excited to welcome Anna – so be sure to join us!

Kathryn M. Ireland’s Creating A Home

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Two years ago,  the blogosphere went slightly crazy with glee when interior design great Kathryn Ireland bought a new vacation home in Ojai – the legendary former Libbey estate, featuring a large Spanish Revival ranch house.  After she had restored it, the ranch was featured in several  magazines – Vogue Living and House Beautiful.    Ireland decorated it in all bright colors and suzanis, many of which were new prints from her eponymous fabric line.    The ranch was romantic, a series of outbuildings, including stables, a coach house, a barn, a caretaker’s house, a gatehouse, and a main house that wrapped around a large, shaded, rock-enclosed courtyard.   A few months after the big magazine splash, the estate went up for sale, setting off a new round of blogosphere reports.   I confess I wrote one of those reports -  a long post on Ireland and the Ojai estate.   The ranch intrigued me, it included everything about design that I love – historic architecture, glorious fabrics, and an air of mystery.  Armed with the Real Estate brochure,  I spent a few days trying to figure out which picture went where – which room was in what outbuilding.   You know, just totally obsessing about the ranch and the layout of the buildings.

 

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The ultra talented interior designer Kathryn Ireland poses in the outdoor area that leads to the guest rooms.

 

Now, all my questions about the ranch will be answered this October when Ireland’s new book, Creating A Home, is released.   It chronicles the legendary Libbey estate, starting with a history of the land and the story of the Libbey family’s hiring of architect Wallace Neff.  There is also a wonderful site plan, something I wish I would have had back in April, 2008, when I wrote this story about the estate here.   It would have been much easier to have that plan to figure out what all the different buildings pictured in the real estate brochure were!  Creating A Home promises to be wonderful – it’s my absolute favorite kind of design book – the story of one house and how it came to be.  Similar books that I love which focus on one house are An Affair With A House, by Bunny Williams, Living By Design by John Stefanidis which chronicles the story of his country English estate and Villa by John Saladino, his wonderful new book about his Santa Barbara estate’s restoration.  Stefanidis also has a new book coming out – the story of his house in Greece, called An Island Sanctuary, available for pre-order here.   Kathryn Ireland’s book is in very good company – I just wish I could get my hands on it today – it would make great beach reading!

 

image The cover of the new book shows the main, two story Spanish Revival living room.  The large painting on the fireplace mantel, shown in both magazine layouts, is now gone – most likely photoshopped out to have a place for the book’s title.

 

Ireland is going on a publicity tour to coincide with the release of her new book and is scheduled to come to Houston with a book signing at Dorian Bahr, the showroom in Houston that carries her fabrics.  There will be another book signing at a yet to be announced venue.  I’m sure I’ll be there to get the book autographed and just be an all around wallflower, as usual.    Amazon has a few pictures from the book to preview – it shows rare before shots which I am anxious to examine.  To pre-order the book from Amazon, go here.

 

image The living room showing the large painting over the fireplace.

 

 

image From Creating A Home - a view of the large main living room before Kathryn redid it.    The tiles on the staircase, shown below, are original, as is the large Basque chandelier.

 

image  Close up of the original tiles on the stairs.

 

image The large stone fireplace and kitchen with tile floors – just as Ireland found it.  The kitchen is located in the former coach house.

 

image The kitchen today – all the upper cabinets were taken down and replaced with open shelving.   The tile floor remained the same. 

 

image The sitting area around the huge rock fireplace in the former Coach House, now the kitchen.

 

 

 

imageThe master bedroom – seagrass and French chairs, rock fireplace and porteries -  this picture makes me so anxious to see the rest of the book!!!!!!

 

 

imageA before shot – what Ireland faced in her massive restoration of the Ojai estate.   

 

image The book comes with this map of the estate – if only I had this last year – it would have saved me hours of study!!!

 

The book, Creating A Home, is due to arrive in stores in October – just in time for Christmas giving.   Pre-order your copy here.  And watch for more information on this blog where Ireland will be signing books in Houston.