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A Simple Table

20120331-064430.jpg It all started with a bag of Meyer lemons. I typically set the table the eve before we have guests over. The idea of how I want to set it mulls around in my brain sometimes days before, and sometimes minutes before. With TPS away, I thought it would be fun to invite the WK family to join me for pizza and martini night–our Friday evening tradition. I took my starting point for the table with the bag of Meyer lemons we picked up at the Vashon grocer days before. The warm, vibrant yellow would be great against the red bowl and the red-lidded apothecary jars.

20120331-065239.jpg Then I think about some Limoges plates we have a set of that we sold at Watson Kennedy ages ago, that have lemons on them. They would be set atop a simple white plate. These are our plates that we use almost everyday, and I rarely use when we have guests. Hands down one of our better investments, as they have lasted for years, and work in so many different table setting scenarios. I titled this ‘A Simple Table’ because it really was about using what we had at home, and adding a few fresh things to liven it all up.

20120331-065700.jpg With yellow as the primary hit of color, the hunt at the Market was on for yellow tulips. Success! I just wanted to scatter them about in clear, single stem vases.

20120331-065917.jpg A simply folded, simple white cotton napkin would do the trick.

20120331-070025.jpg A clear stemmed glass for water to give a little height. The French fruitwood table left bare adding an earthy element. I would place clear votive holders with candles around the tulips right before everyone arrived.

20120331-070328.jpg The table was set. All inspired by that bag of lemons. It was a perfect night. There was not a minute of dead air time, as story after story was told, and laughter filled the room.



 

 

My Favorite Things Today

20120330-065919.jpg Actually, it is more like, “My Favorite Vintage Things Today” as everything I have chosen this go round has been found on vintage hunting & gathering excursions. The vintage objects we sell at Watson Kennedy are some of the things most dear to my heart. Goods that have lived a life–if they could speak, oh what stories they would tell. Things with a history. I have always felt that we are just the guardian, and that each object is just waiting for the right home.

20120330-070710.jpg I also like finding things and thinking of different uses for them. These vintage jacks I envisioned with a pair of beeswax candles in them.

20120330-070902.jpg These glasses are super thin, with the sweetest little star pattern etched randomly on them.

20120330-071028.jpg I have rarely met a Revere bowl I did not like. We use them to hold a myriad of things in the shops–vintage playing cards, tubes of lotion, Fran’s salted caramels. The form is just a classic. I like them when they have been freshly shined, and like them when they have gone super tarnished.

20120330-071411.jpg These glasses are uber thick and heavy, with a sweet dot pattern on the outside. A substantial bubbly glass, as well as a killer single stem vase.

20120330-071611.jpg Shells made into salt cellars always makes me weak in the knees. This is just a pretty, pretty pair.

20120330-071750.jpg The second I spotted this wood chalice, I knew it would look great filled with Agraria potpourri.

A very happy Friday to you!
TPS is heading to New York this afternoon to visit family and meet with our architect. I am having the WK family over for pizza & martinis in his absence. It will be a night filled with many stories, and much, much laughter.



 

 

Coq au Vin

20120329-063826.jpg Even though Spring has officially arrived, there are days that still feel pretty darn wintery to me. These are the times that a big, comforting, warm dish of chicken cooked in red wine just does the trick. This classic French dish is one that over the years I have honed down to be a pretty simple dish. I remember making it for the first time years ago, and it seemed like it took me the better part of a day. This version will not. But the tastes & flavors will seem as if you did. Here we go.

For this recipe, I just use the dark meat of a chicken–the legs and thighs. By all means use white meat too, if you like. I use 6 thighs and 4 legs. Depending on the size pot you are using, use more or less. I take the skin off of the thighs, as it really cuts down on the amount of fat in the dish. But again, not necessary. Put 1 cup of flour on a plate or dish, and coat the chicken pieces with flour. Set aside. Cut up 10 pieces of the best uncooked bacon you can find, into fairly large bite-sized pieces. Add half of the bacon to a waiting pot, such as a Le Crueset, that is at medium heat. Add half of the chicken. You just want to not overcrowd things, so working in batches is the way to go. Sauté the chicken with the bacon, turning the pieces to brown. You are not cooking it all the way through, just getting them cooked a bit, and browned a bit. Repeat with the other half of bacon and chicken. Set aside when done. Take 4 smaller sized onions and quarter them. Take the pot off of the heat, and add a quarter of a cup of cognac. This will deglaze the bottom of the pot, and infuse your kitchen with one truly heavenly scent. Add the chopped onions to the pot, put back onto the burner, and cook until translucent. Then add back in all of the chicken and bacon bits that have been resting to the side. Add any liquid that had gathered as well. Then add a full bottle of a lovely French wine that you want to serve with the meal. My fav to use is a Cotes du Rhone. This should cover the chicken, bacon and onion mixture. Add 1 teaspoons of freshly chopped thyme to the pot, along with 1 teaspoons of salt, and a half of a teaspoon of pepper. Simmer on low, covered for one hour.

20120329-070924.jpg While the chicken is cooking away, quarter a dozen white mushrooms and cook with a knob of butter in a skillet, browning them. Set aside. After the hour is up, check the chicken to make sure it is done. It should be close to falling off the bone. Yum. Spoon into a bowl adding the mushrooms to the dish, serve with a green salad, a baguette for sopping up those amazing juices, and another bottle of the same type of red you used to make the dish with.

20120329-071634.jpg I sometimes make mashed potatoes and serve the coq au vin over that. Not necessary, but amazingly comforting, and really tasty.



 

 

When the World Hands You…

20120328-071747.jpg When the world hands you a large amount of branches, make a display of them. That was my thought when a very old apple tree on our property on Vashon Island finally came tumbling down. The moss & lichen covered branches were just too wondrous to get rid of.

20120328-072327.jpg My shop in the courtyard of the Inn at the Market has a suspended ceiling grid. Over the years, I have really come to love it, as the grid allows us to hang things off of it. The branches would be a welcome addition.

20120328-072657.jpg I wanted to create a bit of an enchanted forest look, with the branches having the feel of working their way through the ceiling and grid. The effect really cocoons the space, creating an even more intimate feel. Just what I was going for.



 

 

Vintage Maps & Charts

20120327-072413.jpg I wrote a few weeks back of the windows we refreshed with vintage maps and charts. I had promised to fill you in a bit, once we got all of them rolled and tagged properly.

20120327-072717.jpg These really are such gems. With dates ranging from early 1920 to the 60’s, and locations from around the globe.

20120327-073025.jpg I think they work great unframed and just pinned to the wall. That is what we have done with similar maps at our week-end place on Vashon, and that has worked perfectly.

20120327-073258.jpg They would also be exceptional framed. These are the 2 windows at the Home store that we are currently displaying a few in. I love how the sun created a reflection of the ‘fine home’ logo onto the wall over the maps–a bit like a watermark.

20120327-073550.jpg We acquired hundreds of these from a collector. I am thrilled to be offering them at Watson Kennedy.



 

 

Words by Victor Hugo

20120326-083652.jpg I thought this quote was particularly beautiful, and a great way to begin the Monday. May all of you have a joyous week–with maybe a little singing (internally or externally) involved.
Sending much love, Ted



 

 

Shades of Green

20120325-082530.jpg One of the organic farm stands yesterday morning at the Pike Place Market, had the most visually stunning array of leafy greens and vegetables. I just stood there at first in awe and amazement. The grower/seller stood in the stall with pride. Pride indeed–she had grown & assembled edible works of art. Here is a mini-show for you on this Sunday morning.

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The Lovely Rita Konig

20120324-051128.jpg I first met my friend Rita Konig years back, when she came to Seattle to write an article for Domino magazine. In that article one of the spots she featured was Watson Kennedy. She and I hit it off from the start, so TPS & I hosted a dinner for her on that visit. Her style and manner easy going, witty, and smart. She carries all those traits to how she writes, and designs a space. I would see her and catch up on many of my visits to New York. Her apartment on East 9th Street was one of my favorite places to see her, as the space oozed of her warm, creative style. The above photo is a wall in her kitchen where she taped favorite photos and ephemera to create a rotating gallery, which contained a vintage flashcard that I rubber stamped and sent to her–which makes me smile.

20120324-052717.jpg Ever the consummate host–with a well stocked, and oh so stylish bar set up, at the ready.

20120324-052851.jpg Rita was who introduced me to Hugo Guinness and recommend that Watson Kennedy carry his work. She is now living back in London where she was raised, and is in the process of renovating her new home. You can follow the progress of the project on her blog, which you access through her website www.ritakonig.com

20120324-053355.jpg She still has an office in New York, working on design projects around the country. You can also read the column she writes, ‘Living Well: Rita Konig’ many Saturdays in the Off Duty section of The Wall Street Journal. If you have not picked up a copy of the WSJ lately, a Saturday issue is a must. The section is edited by Deborah Needleman, former Editor of Domino, whose is a good friend of Rita’s. The above vintage white chair sits in the bathroom of Deborah’s country home in Garrison, was a purchase Rita made from Watson Kennedy. She and I share a fondness for solo chairs. All the photos for this post were pulled from Rita’s site–check it out when you have a free moment for a bit of design inspiration.

A happy Saturday to all!



 

 

Vintage Baccarat at Watson Kennedy

20120323-074141.jpg Often times the vintage goods that I decide to bring into the shops stems from a love of a certain type of item or something I personally collect. Usually it is both. My collection of vintage Baccarat decanters began years ago and started as a gift from my sister when she was living in Palm Beach.

20120323-074606.jpg I have continued to find and add to the collection over the years, and recently thought it would be cool to start a small, but growing vintage Baccarat section at Watson Kennedy.

20120323-074816.jpg I am not limiting it to decanters, as there are so many other glorious goods the company has produced. Since 1764, when King Louis XV of France gave permission to found a glassworks in the village of Baccarat, the company has been creating some of the world’s finest crystal.

20120323-075612.jpg The weight of the decanters is quite something. The beauty of it empty or full is exceptional.

20120323-075858.jpg I particularly like the ashtrays on a desk holding stamps or a bit of Santa Maria Novella or Cote Bastide potpourri. Look for the collection to grow, as I find more on my travels.



 

 

The Sweetest Bracelets

20120322-073517.jpg A lovely woman shopping at Watson Kennedy last week asked me why I never write about the jewelry we carry. The answer was simple, jewelry is tough to photograph. The photos of jewelry I had photographed just were not as clear as I was wanting. I shoot the photos for the blog & website exclusively from my iPhone. It has just proved to be the handiest and most efficient way to get everything done in a timely manner. I just upgraded to the latest version of the phone, and man o’ man, the camera is incredible.

20120322-074343.jpg That all said, and so sorry for the long, boring explanation–but the up side is I will now be able to show some of our beautiful baubles.

20120322-074618.jpg These sweet, sweet bracelets will start us off! Made in upstate New York, they have a vintage feel to them, but they are not. The mixing of metal and the positive thought stamped into it makes for a bracelet that could be worn solo, and would also be great mixed in with other bracelets.