18 January, 2018

"Royal Family Ties - The Corgis! . . . "

"Come on.  Let's see what's going on . . . "


There might be no more famous member of the royal household than HM Queen Elizabeth's beloved corgis.  We've been covering an enormous amount of information on these posts - so let's make this one fun and just post lots a dog pictures.  Well . . . dogs and The Queen. 

"I"m king of the world . . . . . . "

"I'm just going to put my head right here.  Just for a moment."


16 January, 2018

"Before and After - The Presidio Entry . . . "


I know y'all like a good 'before and after' every now and again - and this charming bungalow here in San Francisco was certainly improved by a wee bit of love and some amazing furnishings. 

Take a look . . . 

This is one of those amazing projects where SO much of what we needed was already here.  The darling settee came from an old bedroom.  The art was recently replaced with something new and needed a new home.  We custom-made a few pillows and put an amazing sisal on the stair treads . . . and we were practically finished.  

And antique bell lantern never hurt any room.

See more of this project here.


11 January, 2018

"SMW Home's Victoria Botanical - Inspiration . . . "


People often ask where I find my inspirations.  Frankly, one is always influenced by any number of images, locations, and moments - and personally, I frequently find film costumes fire my imagination.  So let's play a little inspiration game . . . we're going to start at the end - and work backwards.  

So first, the final design.   

SMW Home's
Victoria Botanical - in Marigold.

We debuted SMW Home's Victoria Botanical (in Marigold) at the Dallas Showcase House this last summer - using almost 50 yards to tent a small hallway outside the main floor powder room.  Most everyone commented on the saturated colours in the palette and the dramatic pattern.  

The inspiration for the pattern was an antique Edwardian textile that I purchased at a show over a year ago - and one of my favourite aspects of the design was the more open pattern on the ground - lots of vines and tons of flowers and buds.  But, we wanted to really punch up the colours . . . 

So I went back to one of my favourite films . . . "The Young Victoria" staring Emily Blunt. 

This is a close-up of Emily's costume for the Coronation Ball sequence when she dances with Prince Albert.  It is amazingly romantic and the colours simply leap off the screen. But, getting the colour for the textile perfect was a bit of a task.  We must have gone back and forth with colour samples for almost a month.  Getting the perfect marigold background.  Getting the perfect shade of red.  Finding the perfect purple and blue to make the pattern vibrant and exciting.

And . . . vibrant and exciting it IS!  "Victoria" was a huge hit in Dallas - and was the perfect partner for our SMW Home Tartan Wallpapers from England. And now we have a huge statement of Victoria here in the shop in San Francisco.  
SMW Home in San Francisco

Stay tuned - we have new colourways launching very soon!


09 January, 2018

"The Ritual of Tea . . . "


Let's talk about another very English topic - and take a wee break from my ramblings about the House of Windsor.  
Proper tea is equal parts ceremony, tradition, and much-needed hydration.  And sometimes a snack.  And sometimes a meal.  Let's examine a few facts . . . a few legends . . . and a few of my personal preferences and rituals. 

Let's talk tea . . .

High Tea or Afternoon Tea?

Many fine folks use these terms as though they were interchangeable - though, in fact, each has a very specific meaning.  The term 'afternoon tea' refers to a mid-afternoon snack comprised of tea and light nibbles.  It is usually served at 4pm and serves as a snack between proper lunch and usually mid-evening dinner.  Scones are the perfect fit for afternoon tea - as well as simple sandwiches and cakes.    Now 'high Tea' was traditionally used a substitute for the evening meal - and thus usually had a selection of much heartier dishes for the meal.  So though 'high tea' sounds like a fancier version - usually 'afternoon tea' was used as a snack by the upper class - and 'high tea' by the working class as their evening meal.

Milk First or Tea First?
Now this one gets serious.  In our household, it is ALWAYS tea first - whether I'm brewing a cup or a pot.  The tale I was told was that as tea became a tradition in English society during the Victorian era, tea service began to be produced for working-class households . . . and those service pieces were mass-produced and usually of a lower quality.  For that reason, the milk was added first - to temper the tea and keep the cups from breaking.  I also (personally) find that adding the milk to tea helps manage both the colour and temperature of my tea.

English Breakfast or Earl Grey?

English Breakfast.  Stop, the end.  Only and forever.  Seriously. 

Pot or Cup?

This really depends on my day.  My usual tradition is to make a huge pot of tea if I'm going to be at the house all day - and I'll work my way through it in a hour or so.  But, a quick turnaround almost always mean a cup (or frankly, more likely a mug) of tea with breakfast. 


07 January, 2018

"Sunday Runway - Tweeds and Tartans . . . "


Happy Sunday y'all.  I know my own closet needed a wee bit of an overhaul post-holiday . . . but, all those amazing tartans and tweeds certainly have a life in the new year.

Here's a bit of inspiration from 'the man' himself - Ralph Lauren.

Enjoy . . .  


05 January, 2018

"Royal Family Ties - How to Succeed at Succession . . . "


There seems to be a wee bit of confusion about how the Royal Succession works.  Frankly, I think one of the biggest issues we're dealing with in understanding the royal family - is the fact that HM Queen Elizabeth has been reigning for such a long time.  George VI only reigned for 16 years.  Before him, George V reigned for 26 years.  But, Elizabeth has reigned for almost 70 years. And because so many generations have passed since there has been any changes in The House of Windsor . . . I think we've all forgotten how everything works.

So . . . here's what the future holds for the fine folks at Buckingham Palace in the coming years . . . 

HRH Prince Charles  

After drawing her last breath as Queen . . . HRH Prince Charles will draw his first breath as King.  It actually happens in an instant.  Since November 14th 1948, the day he was born, Prince Charles has been the heir to the throne.  Because of the long, amazing life of his mother - his rise to the throne will be a bit later in life.  There was tabloid rumour last summer about the crown passing directly to William - but,  was just that - internet and tabloid rumour.  The line of succession to the throne is set by legal document . . . and really cannot be altered.  Charles has been taking over more and more duties from his mother, The Queen, in the last decade is looks to be one of the best prepared monarchs to sit on the throne. 

There are also questions about Charles' ability to become King - but, let's deal with that in another post!  

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

Ok.  This one gets a bit sticky . . . because there's a few untended ends that need attention.  First of all, by British law, once her husband becomes King, Camilla becomes Queen.  But, don't confuse "Queen" with Queen Elizabeth II.  Elizabeth is a 'regnant' Queen - as in the reigning monarch.  Camilla will be a 'consort' Queen - just like the wife of every reigning King throughout history.  Now, the sticky part comes in from the day of their marriage over a decade ago.  On the morning of the service in St. George's Chapel, it was announced from Clarence House that 'it was intended' that Camilla be styled as 'Princess Consort' upon Charles' ascension to the throne.  Ok.  But, within the royal household positions, 'Princess Consort' doesn't exist.  It could certainly be created for her - but, it would need to be approved by Parliament - as well as approved by the member states of The Commonwealth.  Personally, I expect her to be Queen . . . but, I'm also taking a 'wait and see' attitude on this particular point. 

There are also questions about Camilla's ability to become Queen . . . but, let's cover THAT in another post!  

 TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Having Charles as the new King will also impact the lives of William and Catherine and the kids.  A few things will happen automatically - they will become Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (Charles and Camilla's previous titles) as well as Duke and Duchess of Rothesay (also titles held by Charles and Camilla at the moment).  William will also likely (though not automatically) be invested as the new Prince of Wales - making Catherine the next Princess of Wales.  

Also . . . having a new King will mean all the pomp and circumstance of a coronation.  And you KNOW that's gonna be glorious.


30 December, 2017

"Royal Family Ties - Naming Kate . . . "


As Shakespeare once famously asked, "What's in a name?"  Well - for some of the members of the Royal Family, it can get a bit murky once you dive into the details.  Most every time The Duchess of Cambridge is named in any sort of press report, the dreaded "Kate Middleton" moniker arises at some point.  It (for YEARS!) was a pet peeve of mine that she was never called by her married name . . . but, that's where the problem lies.  Though the royal family are called The House of Windsor . . . the name "Mountbatten-Windsor" isn't in common usage as a surname.  Member's of Charles' side of the family at times use "Wales" as a surname.  Young Prince George is in preschool using "Cambridge" as his last name.  So when folks begin to complain about not using her married name . . . sadly, she kind of doesn't have one in regular usage.

There's also the "Kate" bit.  By all accounts, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge prefers to be called Catherine.  Whenever members of the Royal Family speak of her - they always call her Catherine.  To me it certainly seems overly familiar to call the future Queen by a nickname.  But - ever yet - the press continue to call her (in a very informal fashion) "Kate Middleton."

Here's where I think the real problem comes in.  Unlike the media in years past, articles written today DO NOT simply go into the trash bin tomorrow.  They live endlessly in online searches for endless years to come.  And if the public knows her by her maiden name - and searches for her by her maiden name - it's going to be tough to change that.  Don't forget, we knew her as "Kate Middleton" for almost 8 years while she and Prince Williams were dating.  I just did a quick search on google - "Kate Middleton" brought up 28 million results . . . where "Duchess of Cambridge" only brought up 13 million.  And take it from someone who understands to importance of branding . . . that's a HUGE difference. 

The other issue with her name is the future.  At some point, once Charles becomes King, she will most likely become the new Princess of Wales.  And I think that THAT ONE is going to be the one the sticks - and I'm excited to see her in that role, with that iconic title.  Until then, I'll have to grit my teeth at every "Kate Middleton" article that I see.


28 December, 2017

"SMW Home - After Christmas Sale . . . "


Just in case Santa didn't bring you the perfect present - stop by ScotMeachamWoodHome.com and enjoy some post-holiday savings on your favourite home accessories and gifts!

Happy Shopping -

27 December, 2017

"Royal Family Ties - Meghan Markle . . . "


We each have our little darkened corners of nerdity - and The British Royal Family is certainly one of mine.  Aside from the obvious architecture, fashion, and pageantry - the movement and status of each of the royal titles I find especially fascinating.  I thought I'd put together a bit of minutia (and some facts!) - to keep you entertained and well-informed on the comings-and-goings at the palace in London. 

Let's start with the newest member of 'the firm' - Meghan Markle.  As I'm sure many of you know, her engagement to Prince Harry was announced just before the holidays (date set for May 19th!) and she made her first 'family' appearance at church services on Christmas Day.  Let's see what the future holds for Meghan . . . 

1)  Royal Title.  

Contrary to popular belief (and the overwhelming narrative influence of Walt Disney), Meghan will not be a Princess.  Wives take on the feminine version of their husband's title - but, "Prince" is not Harry's title - it's his name.  Most commonly, HM (Her Majesty) will bestow a title on their wedding day - much like she did when Prince William became Duke of Cambridge (and Catherine became Duchess of Cambridge) on their wedding day.  The good money is on "Sussex."  Thus Harry and Meghan would become The Duke and Duchess of Sussex.  (Now for some proper minutia, Meghan CAN be properly titled "Princess Harry of Wales," but that's a kinda obscure use of the title.  The only other member of the family I can think of is "Princess Michael of Kent.") 

2)  Duties.  

Like most of the wives of the members of the royal family, one of her principal duties is to support the work of her husband and the family.  I'll be interested to see if the charitable connections that she already works with will become causes that will be supported by the royal family.  It certainly seems from the interviews that they have done - their charitable work was one of the early things that they shared in common . . . so, it could be quite interesting to see how this works out.

3)  She can't marry him because . . . 

There has been a firestorm of negativity since the engagement was announced with various random folks declaring that for this or that reason, they can't be married.  In a word, nonsense.  Though her previous divorce was I'm sure an obstacle, it certainly does not prevent their wedding.  People have been endlessly siting The Duke of Windsor's abdication as proof - luckily, The Church of England and modern society's views have clearly moved forward in the 80 years since those events took place.  And honestly, if the Queen approves of her . . . that's all I need to know.  Though it is unusual for an American to marry into a family - it's certainly not the first time it's happened.  Grace Kelly.  Queen Noor of Jordan. 

In closing . . . some thoughts.  I, like I assume all of you, have never met these people.  So I, like you, base my opinion on what I'm offered by the royal family and the media.  But, I really like her.  She's certainly well-spoken, well educated, and seems to be head-over-heels in love with Prince Harry.  The fact that she was invited to Sandringham for Christmas (even though they are not yet married - a HUGE break with tradition) clearly shows that the family are excited about having her in 'the firm.'  

Check back in from time to time . . . we need the work through some issues with Catherine's name.  And at some point, we'll need to discuss Charles (the next King).

Until then -

Cheerio -

(and yes, I know I left a few things out - but, I didn't want to overwhelm everyone a 4000 word essay this first time out! Hang in there - we have LOTS more to talk about!)

25 December, 2017

"Happy, Happy Christmas . . . "

Happy Christmas y'all.


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