Elsie de Wolfe

whale cottage, PEI

Today was the day. After nearly a year of negotiations, inspections, red tape and three closing dates, today was the day we finally took possession of our tiny little slice of cottage heaven on Prince Edward Island. Some people think we are crazy. "When will you go?" "That's so far away, why would you buy there?" Well, most of those people have never been to Prince Edward Island. If you've been here, you know why. We know why and we couldn't be happier. Here she is:

As I write this I am nestled in a makeshift bed - camp cots made up as if we are camping in an African safari - just under that upstairs window. It is dark and silent and divine. We are minutes from the ocean. You can feel it in the air. Tomorrow the fun begins. A holiday of decorating and mini renovating with many seafood feasts and beach adventures to celebrate each day's accomplishments. I will have much to tell you and show you about the progress here and over at the STYLE AT HOME blog. The full reveal is planned for the pages of STYLE AT HOME next summer. For now I can tell you the plan, in the words of the great Elsie de Wolfe: "plenty of optimism and white paint."

great style, great books

I'm fairly bursting with a million blog posts in my head. I can scarcely keep them straight. For today I'm going to tell you about these books. Well, a peek at two of them anyway. I came home one day recently and my beloved husband had all 5 of these waiting or me. Was it my birthday? No. Our anniversary? No. Just Saturday. He's pretty incredible that way -- wonderful, thoughtful gifts just appear. I'm very lucky. I've said before that so many books are beautiful objects in their own right. Well, check out this one (in the middle of the stack above):

Isn't it so very pretty? I've decided that green is my signature colour (cooking up a whole separate blog post on that!). Have long been a stripes nut. And the giant blooms....delish. And most interestingly -- co-authored by none other than Nina Campbell. Can't wait to dig in for a great read. And check out the endpapers:

Vittoria chintz, RubelliFern Chintz, Lee Jofa

Also love everything Mark Hampton did. Not only was he a very talent designer, but he was also a great writer and his watercolours of rooms are just dreamy. I would die to own one. But for now his book Legendary Decorators of the Twentieth Century will have to satisfy. The book is 22 chapters, each devoted to one of the Greats, and he has illustrated some of their most famous rooms. I'm sure I will be contravening a million copyright laws by doing this, but I can't resist sharing some of the room renderings with you. The illustrations are so wonderful and the rooms themselves would look just as stylish today as they did when first designed -- genius!

A living room by Billy Baldwin featuring a Syrie Maugham sofa, Jean-Michel Frank table and Frances Elkins colour scheme.The famous Cole Porter library by Billy BaldwinA Parisian apartment by Madeleine Castaing. That blue was her signature.This, of course, is by John Fowler, prince of decorators.The mastery of David Hicks - his own home. Makes me want to paint a room pink!